Op-Ed: Why are more guns being sold in the United States?

Posted Mar 7, 2015 by Alex Allen
Guns are reportedly flying off the shelves in the United States but some reports indicate that the number of households with guns has been drastically declining over the last several decades.
It's no secret that gun sales have been skyrocketing in recent years. Early last year, it was reported that 2013 gun sales were at record highs and now that the 2014 numbers are coming out, things really haven't changed. New numbers indicate that guns are still flying off the shelves and the industry has never been better. Even in California, handgun sales reached record highs in 2014. Still, many reports indicate that the number of households with guns has been decreasing over the last few decades. So if less homes have guns, what could possibly be the reason for more guns being sold in the US?
First of all, it isn't entirely true that all of the guns being sold are going into the hands of those who have previously owned firearms. Sure, enthusiasts and collectors are playing a huge role in the surge but new shooters are also getting into the sport and into self defense like never before. In fact, a recent Fortune article points out the fact that women are playing a huge role in surging gun sales. As mentioned in the article, the National Sporting Goods Association has reported a 60 percent rise in the number of women who participate in target shooting between the years of 2001 and 2013.
Of course, women are not only buying guns for the sport. There are also record numbers of women getting into concealed carry and self defense. Many gun manufacturers have even noticed this surge and have been acting upon it. Last year, Glock released a new single stack .380 caliber handgun, the model 42. One of the primary advertisements promoting the new gun featured a woman carrying the firearm and shooting it at the range; and while the new model is popular among both men and women, the company has definitely been targeting women, who they believe will enjoy the gun because of its small size and soft recoil.
Women are obviously not the only reason for increased gun sales in the US, however. Mass shootings like the ones in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut have led to calls for stricter gun laws in recent years, which has in turn led many gun enthusiasts and gun rights advocates to scarf up firearms and ammunition at record rates. Fearing that some of the firearms they do not own will possibly become illegal or harder to obtain in the future, many enthusiasts and collectors have decided to get guns while they still can. That's likely the reason that some of the highest sales of so-called "assault rifles" were reported just after some of the mass shootings.
The ATF's recent proposal for a ban on green tip 5.56 ammuntion is a perfect example of how potential bans affect gun sales. In light of this proposal, there has been a huge surge in ammo sales. People have been buying up all of the green tip 5.56 they can find and many have even been scarfing up regular 5.56 and .223 ammunition, which wouldn't even be affected by the ban. This surge has led to a shortage of 5.56 and .223 ammunition, which is similar to what happened with a lot of handgun and rimfire ammunition following the mass shootings.
So, regardless of the reason, the gun industry is undoubtedly experiencing massive growth. It isn't clear how long the industry boom will last but one thing is certain; the attempts by anti-gun politicians to get guns off the streets is just leading to more guns being sold. And considering the fact that many of them are being sold to responsible gun owners who have already owned multiple firearms for years, that might not be such a bad thing.