If you only follow news in the Left wing echo chamber, you might be tempted to think that Americans have begun turning their backs on gun ownership. Whenever there is one smidgen of data to suggest a decline in sales, the media will latch onto it as proof of a larger trend. The most recent example was when Virginia saw a slight decrease in background checks following three years of exponential growth. (Note the difference in terminology between actual sales and background checks which will become crucial a bit later.) Time Magazine, just last summer, went so far as to list guns as one of the ten things people just aren’t buying anymore. (Along with cereal, gum and … bread. Really?) But is there any truth to this? Are we falling out of love with our beloved tools of self-protection?
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action takes a look at the actual figures and finds the claims to be less than substantive.
The media’s claims about gun purchase trends are based upon the annual numbers of firearm-related background checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). NICS statistics are not a perfect measure of gun purchases, but to the extent they illustrate trends in purchases, they show that the rate at which Americans are acquiring firearms is actually increasing.
As the accompanying chart shows, in 2014, the number of firearm-acquisition NICS checks was 45 percent greater than the average number for all preceding years, including 2012 and 2013, during which Americans bought guns at an extraordinarily high rate in response to President Obama’s re-election and subsequent campaign for gun control.
It’s amazing how a few little tricks and twists in the data can serve a media outlet when they’re trying to buttress the story they want to tell, rather than the facts on the ground. Of course, even when they do get around to reporting the actual numbers, a clever writer can still put a spin on it to make gun owners look bad. A recent, sterling example of that was the WaPo talking about “spikes” in gun sales following the Ferguson unrest, but obviously that was just frightened racists, right?
CNN got in on the action when they talked about the “considerable increase” in background checks in August (the Ferguson event) as compared to July. (That considerable increase was from 1.4M to 1.5M.)
Now, it’s true that certain gun sales are down in specific places. That’s particularly true when it comes to Remington’s financial situation in New York, where several of their products have been banned outright and the Governor has set up laws making it nearly impossible to obtain a permit to purchase others. Unfortunately, the only people who can easily get a gun in New York these days are criminals who don’t care about the laws, and their sales are not recorded.
But overall, the trend in American gun sales is still on the rise, reflecting the majority of citizens who feel it important to preserve and protect our Second Amendment rights. Don’t buy the media hype because you won’t care for the quality of what they are selling.