Previous Post
Next Post

By Larry Keane

It turns out President Joe Biden is seeing more guns being sold in his first year than his two White House predecessors. For all his intent to hobble the firearm industry and clamp down on lawful gun ownership, gun sales have been good. Really good.

December’s NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) figures for 2021 put the annual total over 18.5 million. That’s higher than any year that President Barack Obama was in the White House

Presidential Gun Sales

Law-abiding Americans purchased firearms in substantial numbers to finish out 2021. NSSF-adjusted NICS totals for December came in at nearly 1.8 million. That’s good for the second-highest December total, only six percent lower than 2020’s record final month.

That figure also brings the total adjusted number to 18.5 million background checks for a gun sale. NSSF adjusts the total NICS numbers released by FBI to reflect only those background checks associated with the sale or transfer of a firearm.

The FBI’s unadjusted December 2021 total for NICS background checks landed just north of 3 million at 3,080,295. The December total means that over the 12-month span of President Biden’s first year in office, 38,858,429 NICS checks were run for law-abiding Americans, nearly dead even with the total for first-year NICS checks for former Republican President Donald Trump and former Democratic President Barack Obama, combined. That total was 39 million.

Brady Kris Brown
The Biden administration hasn’t made Brady president Kris Brown very happy. (YouTube screen grab)

The most antigun presidential ticket ever has yielded the greatest gun sales first-year presidential term ever. It’s no surprise gun control groups are feeling disheartened.

Selling Control, Delivering Sales

That’s likely not the first year accomplishment on guns for which President Biden was hoping. He took office with a U.S. House of Representatives and Senate swinging to Democratic control. He sold a daring gun control agenda on the campaign trail. National gun control groups’ mouths watered and they had high hopes for big things.

The American people had other ideas. Americans took stock of their safety concerns as they witnessed first-hand the policy failures of defunding law enforcement and releasing or failing to prosecute criminals. That resulted in the decision of tens of millions over the past year to take responsibility for their own security and safety. This included more than 8.4 million first-time gun buyers in 2020 and more than 3.2 million in the first half of 2021.

David Chipman ATF

The dramatic shift in Americans’ Second Amendment beliefs, along with the growing reality that gun control doesn’t reduce crime, meant President Biden’s gun control agenda ran headlong into the reality of tens of millions lawfully buying guns.

The failures to enact a gun control utopia have led to national gun control groups voicing their disheartened and displeasure with the president’s track record, but it’s the American people who have rejected their gun control schemes.

New Normal

The confluence of several concerning trends in 2020 led to more than 21 million Americans buying a firearm, the highest yearly total ever.

kenosha shooting riot looting burning
Police try to secure businesses after protesters set fire to an office in the background late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Protests have erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake a day earlier. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

As 2021 came to an end, the total of 18.5 million was slightly lower, but that is over 5 million greater than it was in 2019. It’s also a figure that indicates Americans embrace their right to keep and bear arms.

Combined with the growing and diversifying gun-owning community, there are several reasons to believe the higher numbers from last year and 2020 are more indicative of a new normal, rather than outliers.

gun store sale
(AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

There have been peaks before and the market settles out. A study of those trends over time shows that the new floor is usually higher than the ceiling was prior to the run-up to the peak. In this case, 2019 saw 13.2 million background checks for gun sales. The 2021 total of 18.5 million is a very strong number.

For President Biden, it likely means three more years of inability to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. It also means the president will watch as Americans reject his gun control agenda and vote with their wallets – tens of millions at a time.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I did my bit last year. Bought a couple gats…and I see a LGS has a pretty good sale this week. Sadly lacking funds this month. Dam bills!🤨

    • IMHO, Biden/Brandon isn’t the actual salesman here. He’s just the life-sized cardboard cutout the Deep State put in the window for the sheep to gaze at. The real powers-that-be (Deep State, Vampire Squid, Illuminati, Thanos, whatever you want to call them) are driving the gun sales.

      The longer I live, the more I’m becoming convinced that 90% of congresscritters in D.C. truly have no idea what they’re doing, and are in it for the grift, glory, and golden parachute, nothing more. Many politicians, and only a few true statesmen.

      • “The real powers-that-be (Deep State, Vampire Squid, Illuminati, Thanos, whatever you want to call them) are driving the gun sales.”

        I’ll call ’em by their names, like BLM and their various & sundry sycophants, like their new religion of ‘critical race theory’.

        Folks see the writing on the wall a bit clearer, and are choosing to tool up.

        We yet may escape the worst of it as long as Manchin and Sienna can ‘hold the line’…

        • Folks see the writing on the wall a bit clearer…”

          A bit perhaps, but nowhere near clear enough. Recent polling indicates that the majority against DigitalID is surprisingly slim, about 55%.

          Meaning that 45% have no fucking clue what DigitalID actually means for them until they’re geofenced into an open-air gulag. Or, maybe, they want that because it means they don’t have to take any scary responsibility for themselves.

          In all likelihood these are the same people who think that WFH is sustainable but can’t figure out why Instacart isn’t delivering exactly what they ordered or why #BareShelvesBiden is trending so hard that Twitter is having trouble continuing to suppress that hashtag.

          And these are the same people who think that FedCoin and a debit card are the same thing while at the same time complain about cryptocurrencies being a scam.

          Sadly, way, way too many people have this as a theme song:

        • “Recent polling indicates that the majority against DigitalID is surprisingly slim, about 55%.”

          Uhm, I just had to look up ‘DigitalID’, isn’t it a UK/AUS thing?

    • Nice, on the “to get” list for sure, I like the bigger M17 over the M18 as well but I guess the completionists will want both. Or xchange kit to get it.

  2. The Dems may have the White House, the House, and almost have the Senate locked down. But, I gloat a little bit at the makeup of the Supreme Court. Dems know that, politics aside, they won’t get any meaningful new gun control past the court. Just as importantly, I notice that New York and other states aren’t pushing new gun control laws. Virginia was our last loss, and it may switch back with the next election.

    If the Supreme Court had only a slightly different membership, things would be very different. I honestly believe that the crazies in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere would be pushing their agenda a LOT harder.

    • Do they really have to pay an economic elitist a commensurate salary to do that job? Couldn’t they just get a talented zealot to do the job for 1/10 as much – probably also live on a cot in the office for the cause. Once again it doesn’t seem like a real ‘grass roots’ organization at all – – however she is only a fraction as bad a leech on her cause as Wayne is on ours though. I must be pretty naive because it is surprising to me that Wayne and his cronies can’t be ejected even with widespread knowledge of his character and activities.

    • What would happen if the supreme court decided that the second amendment wasn’t about private ownership of firegunms.
      I do not think the supreme court wants the populations repercussions if they tried to enforce that.

    • “Is Kris Brown (or Ms. Watts, et al) ever happy?”

      The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has received, so far, almost $1,300,000.00 in tax payer money to bail them out under the federal Small Business Administration ‘Paycheck Protection Program’. This is suppose to be a loan but the program grants 100% loan forgiveness if the business adheres to basic spending criteria.

      In the current round of ‘loans’ The Small Business Administration documentation says Brady will use the money to pay its 56 staffers. Kris Brown was paid $283,700.00 – She should be very happy that the tax payers are paying her salary, and maybe she should not piss of over 66% of them with her crap.

  3. Jim Crow Gun Control joe is simply amazing. He manages to acquire more votes than b.h. obama and now he outsells more firearms than obama and probably bill clintoon too. Sales were so good for obiden there was no need to officially bring onboard the lovable nazi beanpole beto o’rourke.

    Do not get too comfortable basking among tons of guns because Gun Control zealots are embarrassed, angry and as we speak they are concocting all sorts of KKK and nazi gun control schemes. Gun Control zealots are asking themselves, what would hitler and a grand dragon do if they experienced the same problems with uncontrollable expendables? If you see long trains pulling nothing but empty boxcars and barbed wire being hauled around on flatbeds chances are good Gun Control zealots are about to show their true colors.

    • I have lots of wire cutters, ammo, and stuff to shoot said ammo. Only thing those boxcars will be filled with is the bodies of anyone foolish enough to try and load them.

  4. I made a few purchases in ’21.

    HK Mark 23 SOCOM
    BUL/Magnum Research BDE III in 9mm
    NOS Bernardelli Practical VB in 9mm
    NOS SIG Sauer P232
    Walther P99 Gen I Titanium in 9mm

    There may be a few more.😄

    A Texas LTC kept these from being counted by the NICS system.

    Leaving for the range with 3 9mms and 700 rds of 124 gr/1200 fps in a few.

    SABOD Brandon!

    • The Mark 23 answers the question: “what to do if you consider the USP Tactical 45 to be too compact.”

      It’s supersized but just awesome anyway.

      • Hahahaha.
        The Mark 23 was purchased to shoot 45 Super (750 ft/lbs muzzle energy 185 gr, 720 ft/lbs 200 gr).

        Buffalo Bore had lots of 45 Super in stock Jan 2021 at a great price with free shipping and no tax. Bought them CLEAN out, then bought a Mark 23 to shoot the stuff.

        First time in my life where a gun purchase was driven by an ammo purchase. 😄

  5. The NSSF data doesn’t even tell the whole story, 2021 is the first year I didn’t purchase a brand new firearm through an FFL, thank you very much Polymer80.

  6. Maybe we should inform liberals if they want to slow gun sales, they should stop voting Democrat. Then mention Clinton, Obama and Biden. After all, it was when Clinton’s assault weapons ban sunseted, that the civilian AR market exploded.

  7. joe xiden is, with no exception, the worst president we’ve ever had to endure. Bar none. Look past guns for a moment. He is a total disaster.

    The only thing worse would have been hillary. Thank god they rode her out of town on her broomstick.

    • Hillary would have been better for two reasons. We would actually know who was in charge, and she would have been more moderate so she could be elected for a second term (think first term Obama).

  8. I did my bit for the 2021 numbers with a Dec 29th purchase of a Ruger Mini-14 tactical (model 5888). Was hesitant about spending the money, but I have been saving for it, and there it was! I had wanted it in 300 Blackout, but the 5.56 was there, so, I took it as a sign from God that another purchase was in my future.

    My first rifle. Bought 500 rounds of 223 to break it in.


  10. I’m personally of two minds on this whole topic.

    On the one hand more people taking responsibility for themselves is probably a good thing, if that’s what they’re really doing.

    OTOH, the overall zeitgeist driving this is anything but good. This isn’t a bunch of people who sat down, reasoned their way through an argument about rights and responsibilities and then came to a conclusion and acted on it the way Bret Weinstein did several years ago. It smells more like panic-buying to me and when combined with the other things people hoarded, and still seem to be buying at an elevated rate, I’m not sure it bodes well. Not that it really matters what I think, it is what it is regardless.

    This seems like a case of Hunter S. Thompson being correct when he said that “A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance”.

  11. Must concur. Under Baracka “Sadam” Hussein, I got a Glock 23. Under Dementia Joe, I got a Jericho, a CZ and a Ruger mk iv.
    Thinking about that HK V40…once DJ gets re-elected

    • As much as I’d like DJ to get re- elected it ain’t going to happen. He has a way of developing a cult following, America cant have a country that stands behind its president, it gives that country to much power.

  12. Just a little perspective…
    Assuming that 18.5M number equates 1:1 with a new gun in someone’s hand (I know, big assumption) and every gun in the US, prior to last year simply vanished (a leftist wet dream), we would STILL be in 4th place worldwide for number of privately owned firearms (behind India, Pakistan and China).
    One Biden-like presidential term would have us back at #1.

  13. Silly Meme.

    Fact is that neither Biden or Obama are the best gun salesmen ever. It is the panicking gun buying public reacting to the ineffectual, incapable, incredibly unlikely to succeed political anti-gun chatter as if all that chatter was the spell of a magical wizard. Biden or Obama is going to wave the magical mystical executive order pen and erase the 2nd Amendment!

    I’ve been getting such warnings from the NRA and other groups for a couple of generations at least. Never has happened. Bad laws do happen but on the whole, the trend has been toward more gun rights reaffirmed by laws and courts, not fewer.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t be vigilant and constantly active in the many legislatures and in the courts. Of course we should be that.

    Let’s just be honest about the panic buying. That is what has caused all the shortages and high prices. It was the emotional panic of the gun buying public. People who should have known that the President lacks the power or the support to make all those dire predictions of gun rights groups’ donation letters and emails come true.

    I’m a dues paying member of the FPC, the SAF and the GOA. All of them constantly send me emergency pleas for more money. The FPC is the worst. Two or three, sometimes more screeds every single day, seven days of the week. Never stops with the FPC urging me to panic and send them more money because some horrible catastrophe in court or a legislature someplace is my donation away from happening.

    I will continue paying my annual dues, rounded up to $100 to each outfit when my tax return check arrives. That’s how I do it, it is what I can afford to do.

    If not for all the panic of the rest of the gun world push up prices of gun stuff I buy, I’d no doubt have more money left over to donate!

  14. Didn’t buy any firearms this year and have more ammo than i can probably shoot in the rest of my life. Spent time raising gardens canning food and making jerky for the hard times to come. Canned some venison and a few rabbits and screwy squirrels. if things get to bad We have a flocks of geese and ducks that live year round in the various ponds in the area. Has been a good year to Prep and get things ready for the next Shit Show. As my Ol’Man used to say You need is Butter and Bullets. Be Safe Out There and as Always Keep Your Powder Dry.

    • I sent 90 rounds of FJB, I mean FMJ, downrange today and there’s a lot more where that came from. I’m getting a Ruger PC soon. It’s still a great country – a republic, if we can keep it.

  15. I never let politics influence my decision to buy a firearm. It’s more driven by economics. I’ve probably bought 1/2 dozen+ since Joe got sworn in, but that’s about average. Seldom sell anything anymore. Occasionally give one away. If I like you.

  16. It’s the same tactic as O used. They know they can’t get control passed so they use it to bolster the economy in sales


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here