Firearm sales are riding the tailwinds of a shifting political landscape and growing partisan divides.
While it’s not unusual for sales to spike with a new administration pledging tighter gun restrictions, the riots, protests and Capitol insurrection of recent months have created a perfect storm for increased sales.
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“January has been the busiest month for us since we’ve been in business,” Kee Firearms & Training owner Jeff Regnier said during an interview on Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.” “All day long, lines out the door, around the the building. It’s all day long.”
In just the past month, gun sales popped 80% year-over-year, in sync with the uptick in background checks and sales of firearms and ammunition. In January, 4.3 million people obtained background checks, up from 2.7 million in the same month last year. This follows a record-breaking year for background checks in 2020 with 39.7 million total.
Gun stores like Kee Firearms & Training, based in Chicago, have seen the rate of purchases increase over the past year, propelled by uncertainty and panic-buying. Sales grew to an unprecedented 2.1 million last March when pandemic-related lockdowns and stay-at-home orders went into effect.
Over the summer, mounting unrest and protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd and racial injustice forced many retailers to board up their stores, unleashing a new wave of hysterics among those in fear of the unknown and prospective constraints. Gun sales consequently climbed even higher and hit 2.8 million in June and 2.5 million in July.
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Owners are saying that America’s deep political divide and growing concern that police will no longer be able to protect them is also driving up the influx of customers.
To further matters, President Biden has made promises to roll back Second Amendment rights as part of his agenda for his first 100 days in office, including an initiative that aims to ban assault rifles for the civilian market and high-capacity magazines.
“Fear is what is driving the market currently,” Regnier said. “ People are afraid for their safeties, so they want to protect their families. You see a lot of new-time gun buyers, a lot of women coming in to purchase firearms.”
Fox Business’ Jeff Flock contributed to this story.