2021 gun sales on pace to break last year’s record

by mcardinal

Chris Lieberman, FISM News



Gun ownership continues to be on the rise in America, with 2021 on track to surpass last year’s record for number of guns sold.

According to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check reporting system, the FBI ran over 30 million pre-sale background checks on gun purchases between January and September 2021. Those numbers are on pace to surpass the current record of 39,695,315 checks run in 2020.

While gun purchasing statistics have gradually gone up over time, 2020 saw a dramatic increase, with background checks up nearly 40% from the previous high of over 28 million in 2019. That trend has continued into 2021, with concealed handgun permits up 10% from the end of last year according to a study from the Crime Prevention Research Center.


First-time gun owners are largely driving this surge, with a survey from the National Shooting Sports Foundation finding that nearly 5 million Americans purchased a firearm for the first time in 2021.

Statistics are also showing a sharp increase in gun ownership for women and minorities. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center study, “In 2021, women made up 28.3% of permit holders in the 14 states that provide data by gender, an increase from the 26.4% last year. Seven states had data from 2012 to 2020/2021, and permit numbers grew 108.7% faster for women than for men.”

The same study went on to say that, “In Texas, black females saw a 6.3 times greater percentage increase in permits than white males from 2002 to 2020. Oklahoma data from 2002 to 2020 indicated that the increase of licenses approved for Asians and American Indians was more than twice the rate for whites. North Carolina had black permits increase twice as fast as whites from 1996 till 2016.”

A number of factors have contributed to the rise in gun ownership.

Fears during the lockdowns in the early part of the pandemic led to increases in March 2020, and social unrest following the murder of George Floyd and ensuing protests and riots led to additional surges in the summer of 2020.

Historically, gun ownership has increased when the Democratic party comes to power, as they did in the 2020 election, with many fearing that new gun control measures could restrict the ability to purchase firearms in the future. Rising crime is also likely a contributing factor to the increase in gun sales, with the FBI releasing data on Monday showing that the murder rate in 2020 increased 30% from 2019.

While gun purchases decreased slightly this summer as compared to last, many expect sales to increase again in the coming months. Justin Anderson, marketing director at Hyatt Guns, said, “I expect business will pick up at the end of August, early September, which is normal. Fueling that will also be more availability of popular firearms, as well as more ammunition as the manufacturers have ramped up production in both areas. We are now reaching what I consider a ‘New Normal.’”