Mass shootings don't boost gun sales anymore. Here's why

Mass shootings like the Florida tragedy that left 17 dead typically prompt a jump in gun sales, because buyers worry ...

Posted: Feb 22, 2018 8:52 AM
Updated: Feb 22, 2018 8:52 AM

Mass shootings like the Florida tragedy that left 17 dead typically prompt a jump in gun sales, because buyers worry about tougher gun control.

But now those fears are mostly in check since Republicans control the White House and Congress.

"In the year since the Trump administration took office, there's no serious discussion about gun control," said David Studdert, a Stanford professor who has studied gun sales in the wake of mass shootings. "This shooting may prompt some people to buy guns, it's unlikely to create the same kind of sales spike we saw following shootings during the Obama administration."

Related: Another 'unspeakable tragedy' at a U.S. school leaves 17 dead

In fact, last year was the worst year for gun sales, according to data going back to 1999. FBI background checks, which correspond roughly to purchases at licensed firearm dealers, fell 8% in 2017, the biggest full-year drop on record.

Just last week, iconic gunmaker Remington announced it will file for bankruptcy.

Revenues reported so far for 2017 by gun and ammunition manufacturers Sturm Ruger, American Outdoor Brands, Vista Outdoors and the Winchester unit of Olin Corp fell by a combined $610 million last year, down about 13%.

Related: How gun background checks work

When President Obama was in office, people rushed to buy guns after every mass shooting, worried that gun sales would soon be restricted. In December of 2012 when the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took place, background checks soared by 49% compared to a year earlier. Monthly background checks jumped 44% when there was a shooting at a San Bernardino, California, Christmas party in December 2015. The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016 sparked a 39% jump in background checks.

Related: Remington to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

But gun buyers haven't reacted to a shooting like that since Trump took office. After the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the number of background checks that month still fell 13% from a year earlier. Background checks also fell in November 2017 after the shooting at a Texas church.

Among the best thing for gun sales currently is the relatively strong state of the economy, which is driving all kinds of purchases. The single best day for background checks on record was Black Friday of 2017, at the start of a strong holiday shopping season.

Related: The AR-15 - How 'ugly' unwanted weapon became most popular rifle in America

Gun ownership is very widespread in the United States. In a Gallup survey last October, 42% of people said they had a gun in their home. And there are an estimated 265 million guns in private hands.

But a relatively small percentage of the population does most of the gun buying. A study by professors at Harvard and Northeastern University in 2016 found that half of the guns in the nation are owned by only 3% of the population.

-- CNNMoney's Aaron Smith contributed to this story.

West Lafayette
Overcast
93° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 97°
Kokomo
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 96°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 89°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Frankfort
Overcast
90° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 94°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 91°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Logansport
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 93°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46915

Reported Deaths: 2681
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11499683
Lake5053242
Elkhart316443
Allen2717128
St. Joseph186366
Cass16369
Hamilton1518100
Hendricks1386100
Johnson1254118
Porter71237
Tippecanoe6778
Madison64864
Clark63844
Bartholomew58244
Howard56057
LaPorte55326
Kosciusko5124
Vanderburgh4806
Jackson4653
LaGrange4657
Noble45728
Hancock43735
Boone43443
Delaware42949
Marshall4273
Shelby42025
Floyd37144
Morgan32531
Montgomery29320
Grant29026
Clinton2852
Monroe26628
Dubois2646
White26010
Decatur24832
Henry24315
Lawrence23624
Vigo2288
Dearborn22723
Harrison21022
Warrick21029
Greene18432
Miami1812
Jennings17111
Putnam1688
Scott1607
DeKalb1594
Daviess14116
Orange13523
Wayne1346
Perry1279
Steuben1262
Franklin1248
Jasper1142
Ripley1147
Carroll1102
Wabash1102
Fayette987
Newton9710
Whitley884
Starke853
Randolph784
Huntington712
Wells711
Jefferson701
Fulton681
Jay680
Washington661
Knox630
Pulaski621
Clay604
Gibson592
Rush563
Adams481
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey360
Spencer351
Fountain302
Tipton301
Crawford290
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike90
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events