There’s no denying it: Americans still value gun ownership.
The total number of firearm background checks conducted on Nov. 29, 2019, was 202,465. That is the second-highest single day for the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in history, dating back to 1998 when NICS was implemented. It also represents an 11 percent increase over last year’s Black Friday total.
The high-water mark occurred in 2017, with 203,086 checks. This year’s total was just 622 shy of that record. Checks for the entire month of November 2019 totaled 1,342,155, a 2.1 percent increase over November 2018.
This continues this year’s trend of near-record monthly background checks for retail firearms sales. The FBI reports NICS figures monthly, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s trade association, adjusts those figures to remove checks not associated with transferring a firearm to provide a more accurate proxy for firearms sales. NSSF-adjusted NICS data has shown an increase year over year for the past three months.
Black Friday also revealed guns are hot items. Americans are voting with their wallets as politicians on the national stage and in some states have become increasingly vocal about restricting Second Amendment rights.
Buying firearms is a significant investment. It’s not a financial decision made on a whim. Americans are investing their hard-earned dollars to buy the firearms they want before gun-grabbing politicians attempt to regulate away their rights.
This isn’t a “bitter clinger” moment. The trend line shows that as gun control politicians continue to assail on gun rights, Americans don’t get wary. They buy guns.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., told CNN in April when he launched his ill-fated presidential campaign that it would be centered on gun control. He was the first to openly propose outright forced confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms under the threat of felony conviction. The following month, 910,910 NICS checks were conducted for retail firearms sales, up from 904,834 in May 2018.
In the June Democratic presidential primary debate, former Vice President Joe Biden wagged his finger on stage, saying, “Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA, the gun manufacturers.” Not a single other candidate condemned the remark. Americans noticed, though. June’s NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 924,054 showed a 3.5 percent increase over June 2018. And Swalwell dropped out of the race.
September’s Democratic debate featured former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s headline-grabbing outburst. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he shouted from the debate stage. The viral moment electrified not just the gun control base, it also galvanized gun owners — who went shopping. September’s NICS figure topped out at 1,011,636, a 10 percent increase compared to September one year earlier.
That came after another banner month in August, with 1,113,535 NICS checks, a 15.2 percent jump compared to August 2018. O’Rourke’s campaign also folded.
Interestingly, guns and gun control barely made the Democratic debate in October. There were just two passing mentions of gun control, but nothing of substance. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota didn’t even mention her “Uncle Dick” and explain how her proposals to ban sales of modern sporting rifles, create a national firearms registry, or criminalize private firearms transfers somehow don’t violate his constitutional rights.
Maybe the candidates are taking campaign advice from Joy Behar of “The View.” “If you’re going to take people’s guns away, wait until you get elected — then take the guns away,” she said. “Don’t tell them ahead of time.”
The fashionably late, anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg made a splash in the Democratic primary race by announcing his candidacy and then telling everyone he wasn’t really going to participate. He’s been in the race and then out, and now he’s back in again.
The former New York City mayor bankrolls anti-gun groups including Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and March for Our Lives. He poured $2.5 million-plus into Virginia to flip it blue for gun control. Old Dominion Democrats quickly thanked him for the donations by pre-filing legislation that would dispossess law-abiding Virginians of their legally purchased modern sporting rifles and other commonly owned semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns.
We’ve seen this sort of ramp-up before — in 2016. That was the year Hillary Clinton ran on a platform of reinstating gun bans, clamping down on Americans’ gun rights, and blaming the law-abiding for criminals’ misdeeds. That was also the year Americans clocked in 27,538,673 firearms retail background checks — the most ever.