“In July, state lawmakers passed legislation outlawing rifles equipped with ‘bullet buttons’ that allow for fast reloading,” sacbee.com reports. “The ban did not take effect until January.” Ahead of that day, which has now come to pass, Golden State gun buyers bought guns. A lot of them.
California gun sales rose 50 percent in 2016 as residents rushed to buy the “bullet-button” rifles before they were labeled illegal assault weapons under the Jan. 1 ban. Gun dealers processed 1,331,322 gun sales last year, up by 450,000 from 2015. That’s the equivalent of one gun sold for every 30 California residents.
Last year marked the first time that more than 1 million guns were sold in California in a single year. Long gun sales accounted for the bulk of the rise: Sales doubled from 2015 to almost 760,000. And handgun sales continued what has been a nearly unbroken rise over the decade. Sales rose 18 percent from 2015, to about 573,000.
No surprise there. Firearms sales surge whenever gun rights are threatened. Which begs the question: what will happen to sales now that gun rights are [perceived as] safe?
SHOT Show attendees talked about the current level of gun sales being “the new normal.” The theory: millions of new shooters joined the fold during the Obama years. They’re here to stay. Yes but…
What kind of shooters are they? One-gun-and-done self-defense buyers or newbies-turning-enthusiasts who will look to expand their collections? And what of the hundreds of millions of Americans who don’t own any guns? Will [relatively] hassle-free silencer sales stimulate the forecasted flood of newbies?
Watch this space. Meanwhile, your guess?