Why Are Northeast Gun Sales Surging?

Firearms ownership statistics are about as easy to read as tea leaves. They should be even harder; the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) specifically forbids local, state and federal government from maintaining any sort of firearms registry. Someone should tell that to the extra-legal Illinois gun grabbers attempting to create a firearms licensing system. While I’m at it, the FBI’s NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) is a clear infringement on our Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure; buying a firearm is a lawful act. And the ATF’s dictum that the FFL dealers must keep a log book of purchases . . . you get the idea. Deep breath. Anyway, what does the chart above mean? Well . . .

The Northeast consists of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Whenever a law-abiding citizens purchases a firearm or applies for a license to carry/weapons permit, the gun dealer or licensing authority runs a NICS check.

So, how much of this national average-beating regional trend is down to firearms sales and how much can be attributed to applications for weapons permits (another ridiculous infringement on our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms)?

The recent carry gun law liberalization has not affected residents of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, which remain under the spell of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s gunrightseliminator. It’s hardly likely the sales uptick in the tri-state area is a permit/license-related surge.

Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, however, are experiencing a significant surge in applications for a License to Carry, which are increasingly easy to obtain, unless we’re talking about the actual bureaucratic process, which has fallen behind its statutory obligations.

Back in ’09, the Boston Globe reported:

The number of gun permits issued in Massachusetts surged by more than 15 percent over the past two years, reversing nearly a decade of steady declines and marking a pronounced departure for a state known for its antigun sentiment.

Back in ’08, one out of every 14 people in Pennsylvania already had a permit to carry. Despite a huge (for Vermont) influx of liberal refugees emigrating from blue states, the Green Mountain state is a Constitutional Carry state, so no NICS needed.

Oops! We haven’t split gun buying-related NICS check into existing customers adding to their arsenal [sic] and virgin gun buyers tooling-up for the very first time.

All of which means . . . God knows what. The most likely explanation for the regional NICS surge is an unknown and unknowable combination of license to carry applications, “old” gun buyers buying new guns and firearms newbies doing what firearms newbies do (get a gatt or long gun).

But the bottom line is clear: the part of the United States that’s traditionally been the bastion of anti-ballistic BS has “turned the corner.” The momentum towards keeping and bearing arms in the Northeast is unmistakable. Every gun sold, every permit issued makes it easier to extend and defend the right to keep and bear arms for the entire United States.

Now, about California . . .

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

53 Responses to Why Are Northeast Gun Sales Surging?

  1. avatarjwm says:

    i live in kalifornia and i’n doing my bit. i buy guns. i rope newbies in with free range time and ammo and i’ve even been known to buy a rimfire rifle for a newbie. and i yuck it up to all that’ll listen to me about gun rights and why they’re so important.

  2. avatarBLAMMO says:

    I can only speak for Long Island but there is a noticeable increase in gun ownership (i.e., new / first time gun owners). I see it everywhere. On the local firearms message board, at gun shops and at ranges. I wouldn’t call it explosive but it’s strong and steady. No new shops have opened but some have expanded and all are doing a great business. No new ranges have opened but getting time at a range on the weekend can be as hard as getting a tee-time at Bethpage Black.

    Now consider the level of market penetration in the NE. I think the number of households with at least one firearm is probably < 5%. Quite the shame, isn't it? When you consider, at one time, CT, MA and NY were where the guns were made (exept UT).

  3. avatarDon says:

    Nice Phineas and Ferb reference RF! Now if you can get Perry the platypus to come save our gun rights!

  4. avatarRoll says:

    Dont know what you can do about the Communist Republic of California (it may be hopeless!); the people are welcome in our 2nd Amendment friendly state (AZ), just keep their politicians and the hippies out.

    I’m going to contribute to the “Surge” soon, hopefully going to get another upper or maybe a new bolt or lever action.

  5. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I know one person that contributed to the surge in NJ when he tooled up to join the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). In one year, he bought 4 Ruger revolvers, 2 shotguns and 2 rifles to equip both himself and his wife. They are “empty nesters” now and thought it would be fun to shoot cowboy style at events.

  6. avatarAnon in CT says:

    When I applied for my pistol permit last year, the nice lady at the Police Station said that they had seen a significant surge in applications since 2008. And this is a pretty small town.

  7. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    I just convinced my barber to get one. She keeps early morning hours for customers working in corporate world (ie, she gets in at 5 am and closes at 1 pm). She is often in the shop by herself until other barbers get there around 8:30 am and is worried about being robbed since barber shops equate with cash.

    She has lined up a CCW course and has been asking me what to buy. I even told her I would spring for a Remora holster for her. Slowly but surely, the wheels are turning . . . .

  8. avatarScott says:

    I think the real take home message from the graph above is that the south is still pissed-off about Reconstruction.

  9. avatarDon says:

    I am part of the surge. We live just north of NYC and our county (the county controls permitting in NY state) is almost as restrictive as NYC. My wife is from the midwest and she owns guns that we keep back at her parents’ place. We have guns at our beach house down south. We’ve always just resigned ourselves to being denied the RKBA where we make our primary residence, but then we just woke up one day and said, that’s ridiculous. So now we are doing what it takes (and anything it takes) to exercise our 2A rights here in NY state. The bureaucrats are nasty and obstructionist but we’ve said f**k ‘em, we’re committed to seeing this through. (And like JWM, I hope to rope in some newbies.) I know that I am not alone. There are many that are waking up to the fact that they’ve been wrongly denied their rights and there are also many transplants from other states who press the issue b/c they see it as ridiculous. We have a long road, but things are happening, we have a very important lawsuit in the works here (Kalchalsky v. Cacace) that could help move the needle.

  10. avatarAharon says:

    Why Are Northeast Gun Sales Surging?

    The answer is simple: people are fearfully aware of the increasing criminal activity of the MAIG gangsters whose members are frequently reported in the news being arrested by the FBI and police. The Godfather of MAIG is Bloomberg who resides naturally in NYC.

  11. avatarSteve says:

    Its a shame when folks say that the Northeast is “traditionally anti-gun”.

    What about Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont? Maine and NH are Shall-Issue. Vermont is Constitutional Carry.

    Comon, don’t we count?

    Also worth noting that these three states also have some of the lowest crime rates in…the World. Yup, true fact (as opposed to a VPC factoid). Look it up.

    Nevermind, here’s the link: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0308.pdf

    Here’s the numbers: murder rate / 100,000 people (for all types of weapons) for 2009.
    Maine 2.0
    NH 0.9
    Vermont 1.3

    Also worth noting. Same year, The District of Columbia murder rate was over 24/100,000. Ouch.

    • avatarMike S says:

      Very true. Anyone who thinks New Englanders are monolithically hoplophobic hasnt spent much time in the top half. Also, take it from me, the bottom half is changing.

      NH, in particular, is as gun friendly as ANY state in the union.

      • avataradamiata says:

        New England properly consists of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

        All those other states are Mid-Atlantic (yuck).

        • avatarSteve says:

          Not true, New England also properly consists of Mass & CT. The NE corner of NY state is probably culturally very similar to New England, but I think the geographic line certainly gets drawn at the Hudson river.

  12. avatarmiforest says:

    I think that people realize that we are now rapidly becoming an Anarch0-Tyrany.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_T._Francis#Anarcho-tyranny

    your government will not protect you from the thugs . see: Mexico.

  13. avatarDJ says:

    When I looked at this chart for the “surge” mentioned, the NE isn’t what drew my attention.

    Don’t get me wrong, here, folks; I’m “severely” pro-gun, but the manner in which this chart was arranged seems to be biased against areas with already-high ownership percentages.

    How can you call a less-than-three-quarters-of-a-million increase over a DECADE a surge, when the South managed the same boost in base numbers over the last YEAR of the chart? THAT’S a surge! Only the very low beginning ownership numbers makes the NE increase any news at all.

    (Full disclosure: Midwesterner here, but lived in the South for 4 years; never been East of a Detroit/Atlanta/Orlando line).

    • avatarGyufygy says:

      I think they’re talking about the percentage increase, which is huge. You’re right about the absolute numbers, though. Still need to look at all the stats to get an accurate picture.

  14. Does no one question what Robert writes? Of the four colored lines on that graph, the one representing the Northeast is surging the least. Look at the changes since 2007 or better yet since 2010.

    The other consideration is the population of those four regions. Too get a fairer comparison we’d have to look at the rate of change by population. The Northeast is surging the least.

    Let’s take another example. My blog gets about 400 visits a day and 1000 page views. You know how easy it is for me to have a bigger increase than TTAG, percentage-wise?

    Robert’s transparent spinning which goes unchallenged by his readers is becoming the hallmark of this blog.

    • avatarSteve says:

      I guess you could read it that way. Or, you could note that all of the lines on the graph were trending up, including the one for the northeast. That line indicated a 77% increase in NICS checks which would not be unreasonable to call a “surge”. That particular choice of words might be a tad dramatic, but….as it is used in this context, “surge” is synonymous with “increase”.

      Wait, didn’t you attend the Bill Clinton School of Debate where people have different definitions for the word “is”?

      I think the reason many folks didn’t question it is because,
      A. It looks pretty accurate.
      and
      B. It squares with other recent info about gun sales, CCW permits etc.

      The general trend in the last few years has been more-or-less upward.

      I guess Farago was trying to illustrate that a Region of the country that is “traditionally anti-gun” is seeing increased gun sales. To which I pointed out that big portions of the Northeast are decidedly Not Traditionally Anti-Gun. S

      Interestingly enough the dip in the graph you see from 2004 – 2005 coincides with my brother leaving Maine and moving out west. Note the corresponding increase in Western gun sales in the same period.

      Hard to believe, but One Man is responsible for All that activity. God bless his pointed little head. I am pretty sure that all the nice people at the FBI NICS center are on a first-name-basis with him.

    • avatarGyufygy says:

      MikeB: the post right above yours was discussing the percentage vs. absolute issues. RF’s headline doesn’t tell the whole tale, perhaps. On the other hand, the national and regional pictures both still indicate significant increases. Quibbling about which statistic is more important is a weak argument when they are all pointing in the same direction and towards the same conclusion.

      It’s entirely possible to lie with statistics. It’s a lot harder to do when the individual numbers that make up the whole data set are available.

    • avatarMichael C. says:

      Dude if you don’t like what people here write than don’t read it and stop bothering us. No here cares what you think and you are only making a fool of yourself when you keep coming back to a blog that you don’t agree with.

      • You speak for everyone here, do you?

      • avatarJarhead1982 says:

        Sadomasichism, an inherent need to be dominated, controlled, by others/mistress/dominatrix, which is what everyone on this blog does to inherently insane ideas and beliefs of the anti-gun extremists, dominate and control with facts and logic the antis cant refute.

        So let the antis get their daily whupping, who is to complain about what gets the anti’s rocks off in private?

  15. avatarNeez says:

    I live in PA, and I didn’t buy my first firearm until a little over 2 years ago at age 26. For me, it’s because i’m worried about a failing economy and crimes rates soaring upwards with it. When people get poor, they get desperate. So you can’t rely on anyone but yourself for protection.

    In 2007-2008 it was proven that the whole “too big to fail” idea of our economy, banks, and government is a false sheltered reality. We were so close to another great depression that if China wasn’t having an economic boom with a enough surplus of money to bail us out, our economy would have failed. Along with it, the country would go into managed chaos with far too many jobless. We are still running a huge deficit and at this rate could start going into the trillions per year addition to that deficit. One day, sooner than later, no other country is going to come to the table to buy our bonds. Then the true reality of this seemingly endless supply of deficit money will hit america like a ton of bricks.

    Politicians need to start making hard choices, and instead of borrowing more money to pay for better healthcare, education, and such, all in order to get more votes and win favor with the people, they need to focus soley on the economy and getting it back on track. Because with a stable and prospering economy is the key to the happiness and well being of all americans.

    So in short, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

  16. avatarHawke says:

    In reading a few comments here I decided to research a few things myself. Someone brought up the population issue. So I looked into it. I looked at US Pop by state from 2004 till 2010, I figured the chart remained kinda neutral till about 2004 in all locations.
    Results: South Pop increased by 7.51% 2004-2010
    Northeast Pop Increased 1.56% 2004-2010
    Midwest Pop Increased 2.02% 2004-2010
    West Pop Increased 6.59% 2004-2010

    So that kinda says that the smallest population gain has the highest gain in gun sales… Percentage wise that is.

    The thing that surprised me was the all of these areas including the northeast showed a decreased in violent crime rate.

  17. avatarJim Scrummy says:

    As stated previously, people are waking up and realizing that they are their own 911 first responder. As it has always been. In a SHTF, the po-po aint gonna respond, they have other things to do when that happens. Responding to your security needs is optional.

  18. avatarRalph says:

    Gun stores in MA are packed, and new ones are opening. What does that tell ya?

    The fact is, we are winning the battle in MA — except for Boston and surrounding areas, which (shock) have the highest crime rates.

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      It would be funny if MA went constitutional carry, except Boston!
      Well ok not really funny, but it would sure be an interesting test.

  19. avatarJB says:

    I’m not sure those numbers shouldn’t be higher for the northeast. PA uses it’s own instant check system, and last I knew we didn’t share info with NICS.

  20. avatarDr. Mike says:

    Gun sales are surging in Upstate NY because we can remember what the governor of our neighbor to the east (MA) did to sportsmen and recreation shooters last time he was in power.

  21. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    Thousands of people in Ma. are getting their LTC’s across the state and the local PD’s and CHRB can scarcely cope with the volume of applications. Training courses are well attended. Gun club memberships are exploding.

    The last few times that I’ve been to Four Seasons the place was packed, weekends or weekdays, didn’t matter. Guns were flying out the door.

    Even many of the barking moonbats realize that really tough times may be heading our way and are preparing accordingly. Though I don’t think that the moonbats are a significant fraction of new license holders or gun owners, some of them are smart enough to know that they may be exceptionally vulnerable if bad things start to happen.

    Polling data indicate that our side is making strong headway. Gun laws across the region and the nation are generally being liberalized. The antis are being further marginalized. The arsenals of the unorganized militia have never been stronger, broader or deeper and they are growing daily at an almost breathtaking speed.

    With the tough and volatile economic times people are experiencing, with pensions and retirements accounts in questionable condition, with interest rates at unprecedented lows, many people are starting to realize that by adding semi-precious metals (steel, aluminum, lead, copper and brass) to diversify their investment portfolios, such investment has the potential to return significant and possibly life saving dividends down the road. As the saying goes, buy it cheap and stack it deep. As Bob Dylan might say, “for the times, they are a changin’”. Peace out, man.

  22. avatartheaton says:

    All of the authors claims on infringement are true. The question we must as is, so what? Until we, as supposed defenders of the Constitution, grow a set, nothing will change!

  23. avatarPro-Liberty says:

    I would be delighted for this to be true, but it isn’t: “the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) specifically forbids local, state and federal government from maintaining any sort of firearms registry.”

    I hope someone can show me that I am wrong, but so far as I can tell, FOPA just forbids the feds from creating a registration scheme (including schemes that would be administered by state or local officials) via the regulations that they are directed by the law to promulgate.

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