An unprecedented surge of gun sales that started in early 2020 is still holding steady nearly a year later, and gun stores — local and around the country — are trying to meet demand.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that in 2020, 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm, easily breaking the record from 2016 of 15.7 million. About 40% of all purchases, 8.4 million people, bought a firearm for the first time in 2020, according to the NSSF, and 40% of purchasers in 2020 were women.
The huge spike in sales began in mid-March, which was when coronavirus-related shutdowns reached most of the United States. Terry Weed, manager of the SK Arms store in Flower Mound (which opened in June), said the SK Arms Midland location sold out 98% of its inventory in one day in March.
The surge continued through the summer, as many first-time gun buyers were seeing violence on the news at racial justice protests around the country and they wanted to get a gun for protection, Weed said.
Those two factors happening during an election year combined for a record-breaking year for the industry.
“This happens every four years, but the spike has been higher this go-around,” Weed said.
When SK Arms opened in Flower Mound on June 27, it “hit the ground running” and is having much more trouble getting more inventory in than making sales.
“We are experiencing very high demand for ammo,” he said. “Manufacturers are running 24/7 and can’t keep up with the demand, so we’re seeing sporadic shipments. And once they arrive, it sells out quickly.”
Weed said the surge is holding steady, and special orders are especially difficult right now.
“We want to do our best to fulfill requests as soon as possible, but with the lack of availability, we can’t give an estimate about how long it’ll take to fulfill that order.”