Stats point to continued US market growth

The month of March 2021 featured a record number of FBI-conducted background checks for firearm purchases.

About 4.7 million Americans instigated gun background checks in March, representing a 36 per cent increase from February, according to the FBI. More than 2 million of those checks were for new gun purchases, according to the National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF), who compares FBI background check numbers with actual sales data to determine its sales figures.

The new guns purchased in March make it the second highest month on record for firearms sales, according to NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva, who cited the danger of impending gun control legislation as the main stimulus for the surge.

NSSF data shows last month's sales were surpassed only by the estimated 2.3 million guns sold in March 2020, when the spread of Covid-19 have caused Americans to horde guns and bullets in addition to toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

“It is clear that firearm sales in March were driven by gun control calls from politicians to ban entire classes of firearms and enact onerous gun laws,” Oliva recently told CNN Business.

House Democrats passed a pair of gun-control bills last month that would expand background check requirements on all gun sales and transfers. GOP senators are expected to oppose the measures, which will require support from all 50 Democrats and at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to establish the filibuster-proof majority needed to pass the bills before President Biden can sign either of them into law.

Oliva said the ongoing surge in gun purchases, which last year was driven mainly by African American and women first-time gun buyers, suggests that the demographic profile of American gun owners is changing.

“The face of today's gun owner no longer fits in the neat little box that some would like to put gun ownership into,” Oliva continued. “The fact is gun ownership in America looks more like the country than it ever has.”

Firearm sales fell slightly in February after a January surge, which had been fuelled in part by the Capitol Hill insurrection. January and March are the only two months in which FBI gun background checks surpassed 4 million since records were first kept in 1998.

The Covid-19 pandemic, fears of civil unrest stemming from nationwide protests and riots that erupted in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd last summer all helped 2020 set the all-time record for gun purchases in a single year.

NRA Growth

The National Rifle Association has tackled some challenges with bankruptcy proceedings and a transfer to Texas after New York Democrats sought to engage in politically motivated investigations, but its membership growth is continuing to strengthen.

The NRA has seen 150,000 new members this year alone, averaging about 1,000 new members a day,” NRA Director of Media Relations Amy Hunter told The Epoch Times.

"We've had two federal bills that have been passed in the House, and they're going to be heard in the Senate soon," Hunter told the Times. "You have Biden talking about executive action that he's going to take, and it's been pretty steady throughout history that when you have an anti-gun president in office, and he's passing laws, signing executive action, that usually causes a surge in NRA interest in membership."

The NRA now boasts five million members after a summer surge, she added.

"There was a real surge during COVID," she continued to the Times. "People were looking around at what was going on, they're scared, all of the services, everything's being shut down and being told to stay in their home. The only outlet they have is to watch TV and on TV they're seeing riots and unrest happening across the country; they're seeing that their politicians are closing gun stores, using emergency powers to sort of shutdown the Second Amendment.

"I just think people react as they always do when there's periods of uncertainty. They want to make sure that they can keep their families safe. We're also seeing headlines about police furloughs and calls to defund the police. Law-abiding people feel like, 'well, worst-case scenario, I better make sure I can protect my own family.' So, we have seen a surge throughout COVID and its continued through this year and it continues into the Biden administration."