Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith had some good news for analysts in an earnings call this past Thursday. Smith reported that nearly eight million Americans have already opted to “exercise their Second Amendment rights for the first time.”
Smith was reporting on the record number of NICS checks that have run in 2020, with estimates from the NSSF putting the number over 19 million. Of that number, nearly 40 percent of NICS checks have been for first time buyers — totaling nearly eight million first time buyers!
Of the eight million first time buyers, almost 40% have been women. Let’s do the math on that: forty percent of eight million new gun owners is 3,200,000. That’s 3.2 MILLION women who now own a gun for protection for the first time!
In addition, purchases by black Americans were up 58% in the first half of 2020.
For Smith, this is great news for his industry and his company specifically. Smith noted that these new purchases are further “broadening and diversifying” its consumer base and are an indicator of the long-term vitality of the industry as a whole.
“This expanded consumer base of new firearm owners represents a healthy long-term opportunity for the industry as a whole, but specifically for Smith & Wesson,” he added.
That’s Not Even All Of Them!
Smith’s comments ring true, as gun owners have watched the number of NICS checks soar this year. Every single month this year was a record breaking month.
But the number of NICS checks is helpful, it’s far from the entire picture of gun sales. There are several reasons that the NICS number falls short of a total count.
First, anybody who has a concealed carry permit has already passed a NICS background check. When they walk into a gun store, they don’t have to run a NICS check again, but only show their concealed carry permit.
Secondly, a single NICS check in a store allows the customer to buy multiple guns in that same transaction.
Thirdly and finally, a background check is not required for private sale between two parties in most states.
More Than An Election
Gun sales often skyrocket the last few months before an election, as gun owners are aware that an anti-gun president could make it illegal to buy or own many guns with the stroke of a pen.
But this year has had a lot more than the election, of course. From the tin-pot dictator Ralph Northam in Virginia in January to the Corona Scare of March it was a busy spring.
But as the summer rolled in, riots and protests nationwide — coupled with calls to defund the police — made it more clear than ever that a gun in hand is worth two cops if they’re not coming.