Hoosiers Are Flocking To Buy Guns In Record Numbers

Posted: May 10, 2016 11:35 AM

For most states experiencing a spike in gun sales and carry permits, the recent executive actions by the Obama administration and fears of terrorism have contributed to the surge. But in Indiana, the uptick in gun sales has been occurring since 2004—and they just had a record month in firearms sales. In short, April sales dwarfed the first four months worth of gun transactions for 2015 (via South Bend Tribune):

According to the FBI, retailers performed more than 730,000 criminal background checks through April, dwarfing the total of 302,672 in the first four months of 2015 and putting the state well ahead of the pace that led to a record of more than 1 million background checks for gun purchases through the end of last year.

The FBI does not track data on gun background checks at the county level. But Indiana State Police statistics appeared to also show more local people seeking licenses to carry handguns, as the 1,258 new licenses issued in St. Joseph County through March were on pace to surpass the 2,285 licenses issued in the county for all of 2015.

In the Hoosier state, background checks for gun purchases have increased every year since 2004, but the spike through April this year is by far the greatest yet. Background checks and licenses do not always reflect purchases and can leave out some cases, such as purchases from private sellers at gun shows, but local retailers say they have seen a considerable increase in both sales and general interest from prospective first-time gun owners.

"We're seeing more and more first-time buyers with concerns about their own safety, for their home and out in public," said Rocco Rigsby, retail manager with Midwest Gun Exchange in Mishawaka. "Personal protection handguns are something people are really focusing on right now."

The increased sales and interest in gun ownership at the local and state levels follows a national wave that has led to skyrocketing sales for some manufacturers. Across the country, background checks increased by 34 percent through April, according to the FBI. Earlier this week, gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co. reported a 26 percent surge in sales through the first quarter and a 50 percent increase in earnings compared with the same period in 2015.

It’s not just a red state phenomenon either. Delaware has seen a spike in gun sales and carry permits. Iowa has experienced the same thing, which has some gun stores struggling to keep up with demand. In Michigan and Minnesota, carry permits are also on the rise. In Pennsylvania, their numbers suggest that residents try to buy 97 guns every hour. Overall, gun sales have been tremendous, with a record breaking 23 million+ FBI background checks being conducted last year. This year could break that record—and I hope it does.