Firearm and ammunition retailers have been busy — really busy — during the first six months of 2020. And they are not just selling to what many thought to be the traditional customer, older white males, as new NSSF research shows customers of all demographic backgrounds are part of this ongoing sales surge.
NSSF’s adjusted NICS data shows that a record 10.3 million firearm transactions have been processed by retailers nationwide in the first half of the year. No matter how busy NSSF retail members are handling these millions of transactions, we are thankful that they are always willing to take the time to let NSSF know what they are seeing first-hand in their stores and at their counters.
Thanks to retailers’ insights early this year, news outlets across the globe have been reporting that millions of Americans became first-time gun owners during the first four months of 2020. In early July we reached back out to retailers to learn more about who these surge customers were.
First off, approximately 90 percent of retailers reported an increase in firearm and ammunition sales during the first half of 2020 versus the first half of 2019. How big are those increases? Responding retailers noted that they are seeing a 95 percent increase in firearm sales and a 139 percent increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019.
It has been well known inside the industry that purchasers of guns and ammunition have long had diverse demographic backgrounds. During the first half of 2020, retailers noted that the overall makeup of their customers consisted of 55.8 percent white males, 16.6 percent white females, 9.3 percent black males, 5.4 percent black females, 6.9 percent Hispanic males, 2.2 percent Hispanic females, 3.1 percent Asian males and 0.7 percent Asian females. The highest overall firearm sales increase comes from black men and women who show a 58.2 percent increase in purchases during the first six months of 2020 versus the same period last year.
Bottom line is that there has never been a sustained surge in firearm sales quite like what we are in the midst of. No matter who they are or the reason for their purchase, we must continue to practice and promote the rules of firearm safety and be sure to add a +ONE and invite some fellow enthusiasts with us to the range or field during National Shooting Sports Month and the upcoming hunting seasons.
Jim Curcuruto is the Director of Research and Market Development for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.