There is a direct cause and effect between anti-gun legislation and sales and Americans appear to be buying fewer firearms. However, this may not be the best time for gun owners to feel relaxed.
During the run up to the 2016 election, firearms enthusiasts broke records in terms of gun sales. According to numbers released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a record 11 million firearms were manufactured in the United States in 2016. Even anti-Second Amendment media sources such as the Huffington Post acknowledged a national scare with the prospect of gun control advocates such as Hillary Clinton seizing control. Ironically, during the Obama years, gun sales remained extraordinarily high and the NRA fought tooth and nail to keep firearms accessible to law abiding citizens.
But with Congress pushing pro-gun legislation such as conceal carry reciprocity across all 50 states and a president ready to protect the Second Amendment, gun purchases appear to be in decline. Pre-sale background checks dipped by more than 2 million from 2016 to 2017 after reaching an all-time high 27,538,673.
In California, widely regarded as an anti-gun state, 450,000 fewer firearms were sold during 2017. That equaled a 35 percent decline from 2016. Granted, some of the sales were spurred on by certain bans that went into effect in early 2017. But the low sales trend has hit other key states as well.
In Virginia, firearms sales suffered a 3.5 percent rollback after setting a record 505,722 during 2016. Long regarded as a pro-Second Amendment state, Virginia saw only minimal impact after reports of mass shooting in contrast to California. The highs and lows that drive sales in secure firearms states appear to be connected to concerns about gun bans.
But nationally-driven fears over gun control may be short sighted. That’s because the Trump Administration has been staunchly in favor of states’ rights and a handful of governors are clamping down on legitimate gun ownership.
The NRA recently reported that newly elected Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam plans to enhanced and expanded background checks as one of his top priorities. Those in the gun world understand this to be code for “taking away guns.”
Sworn in Jan. 13, 2018, Gov. Northam has a track record for pushing firearms bans. While in Virginia’s state government, he wanted to outlaw semi-automatic weapons and magazines. He opposes carry without a permit anywhere in the state and lobbied against sales at gun shows. He also opposes private sales and those across state lines. Currently, he is pushing to increase gun-related fines and penalties. Simply put, Gov. Northam represents the radical anti-gun lobby and he is not alone.
In places like Massachusetts and New Jersey, politicians are encroaching on every possible area of the Second Amendment. Using the “bump stock” controversy from the Las Vegas shooting as an excuse, anti-gun legislation was passed that bans other accessories as well.
While the national sentiment may be that gun rights are reasonably protected based on the majority in Congress and a pro-NRA president, there are powerful forces being mobilized at the state level to take away your guns. This is not the time to let down your guard.
~ Firearm Daily