The stats for December’s FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks are in. Keep in mind that the NICS numbers don’t directly correlate to gun sales. Some states don’t require additional background checks for CHL permit holders purchasing firearms. All states that require a permit for carry require a NICS check. So here’s the latest . . .
According to the official stats, the Fibbies ran 2,234,817 background checks in February 2017. While that number represents the third busiest February on record, it’s a 15% drop from the 2,613,074 background checks performed in February of 2016.
For context, February NICS checks didn’t crest one million until 2008, just ahead of the Obama presidency. In the last four years, they only fell below two million in 2015, missing the mark by about 150,000 checks.
The ballistic burghers at Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Vista are attempting to assure stockholders that the Trump election is no biggie.
Sales are still historically robust, to be sure. With increasing concealed carry gun law liberalization, they’re destined to remain so. And yet, despite enviable profitability, the stock market ain’t buying it. Literally.
In the face of the “new normal” Smith & Wesson is following Vista’s game plan and diversifying. Ruger, the only pure play gunmaker, announced that it’s depending on new product launches (perhaps counting on the idea of “super gun buyers“) to maintain growth.
One thing’s for sure: tens of millions of America are now armed to the teeth. Way more than ever before. And there are still tens of millions of Americans who aren’t armed. At all.
I expect gunmakers to finally do what I’ve been urging them to do in the seven years of this website’s existence: target market gun virgins. To do that, they’ll have to break out of the mainstream media advertising blacklisting ghetto. Or infiltrate it. Watch this space.