Skip to main content Skip to main content

2021 Gun Sales Already Second Highest on Record

The record or near-record level of gun sales of the past two years has continued through November, putting 2021 in a class by itself, save for the unprecedented COVID-inspired buying spree witnessed last year.

2021 Gun Sales Already Second Highest on Record

(Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com)

“The report of November’s figures puts 2021 as the second strongest year for firearm sales on record, behind only 2021’s outlier year of 21 million background checks for a gun sale,” said Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

November numbers showed 1.5 million background checks for new firearm purchases, down from last year but higher than all previous years except 2016. That brought the 2021 total up to 16.8 million firearms. Huge Black Friday sales this year helped bolster the overall number. 

“That remarkable figure was reinforced by the FBI’s report of more than 678,000 unadjusted background checks performed during the week leading up to and including Black Friday,” Oliva said.

Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms. 


It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale. 


Also interesting to note is that 25 states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers.

Oliva said that the continued near-record sale of firearms in November proves that gun owners are more eager than ever to practice their Second Amendment rights.

“This milestone figure of more than 16.7 million background checks for a gun sale shows there is still a strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership, and America values the God-given right to keep and bear arms,” he said. “Month after month, and now year after year, Americans are voting with their wallets when it comes to gun rights in record numbers.”

About the Author

Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Subscribe Now and Get a Full Year

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now