US gun sales fly to another record

The US gun industry continues to sore, reaching its highest level ever, while violent crime continues to fall.

After reports that gun shops had been swamped immediately before and after last month’s national election, official figures have confirmed that November was by far the strongest month for gun sales the US has ever experienced.

Counting FBI background checks on potential gun buyers, adjusted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to account for potential sales only, the November 2012 figure is up an astounding 39% compared with November 2011, which in turn was an 8% jump of the previous year.

In actual numbers, November 2011 recorded 1.1 million NSSF-adjusted background checks, while November 2012 was a whopping 1.5 million. These number do not correlate directly with gun sales, but they indicate the level of activity in the market, and last month was the 30th time in a row that the figures had gone up.

“Even as firearm sales have trended upward in recent years, statistics show that violent crime and firearms-related accidents continue to decrease, a fact that underscores more firearms do not lead to more crime and accidents,” the NSSF.

It’s worth noting that a large part of the growth in gun ownership has come under new concealed-carry laws in most US states, allowing properly licensed and tested people to free carry a gun on their person in most public places.

Meanwhile, the value of hunting and fishing to the US was recently put in perspective at an event for US politicians, hosted by a number of shooting organisations.

“The 37 million sportsmen and women over the age of 16 in America is the same as the population of the state of California, and the $90 billion they spent in 2011 is the same as the global sales of Apple’s iPad and iPhone in the same year,” Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, said. “Hunting and fishing have been, and clearly continue to be, important elements of our country’s outdoor heritage and they are critically important to our nation’s economy – particularly the small local economies that support quality hunting and fishing opportunities.”

The $6 billion that hunters spent in 2011 on guns, ammunition and archery equipment is comparable to the sales of bicycles in the US.

Australia, meanwhile, has choked the gun and hunting industries over recent decades and is missing out on greater economic benefits both could bring.

Victoria’s duck season brings some economic activity to specific areas of the state, inviting a contrast with states such as NSW and Queensland, which virtually eliminated the culture of game bird hunting when they banned duck hunting.

The NSW Game Council has been able to stimulate hunting activity after public land was opened up to licensed hunters, and even though there are only 17,000 hunters licensed by the council, they are estimated to have contributed almost $1 million annually in benefits to the state.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.