After a record year for gun sales in 2020, they continue at an above average pace in 2021. "Earlier in the year, we had a sort-of 'Oklahoma land rush' effect, with people coming in and buying guns that they had probably never had," says Mike Clark, president of Collectors Firearms in Houston. "Now, I'd say sales are holding steady, but they're not up to the level of what they were."
The pandemic, the contentious election, and civil unrest were the driving factors in last year's gun sales surge. This year, it's the rise in violent crime. "There are a lot of couples and married people coming in and buying guns for self-protection and home defense, and that sort of thing," says Clark.
One of the striking aspects of the 2020 gun sales surge was the number of first-time buyers---estimated to be 40% of all sales last year, according to the National Shooting Sports Federation. Clark tells KTRH they're still seeing plenty of new customers. "We're having a lot of guys coming in with their wives or girlfriends who've never owned a gun before, but they just feel better having some protection," he says.
Still, some politicians on the left continue to unfairly blame gun stores for the rise in gun crime. Clark explains they don't sell to criminals. "A lot of people can't qualify for buying a gun from a licensed dealer due to their criminal record," he says. "But what they can do is go out and steal (a gun) from somebody, and then commit mayhem with it...that's where the problem comes."
"The people who buy from licensed dealers are people who are already vetted."