Snapshot|Commentary 2020 Rewind Last year, was one of the best years for the firearms industry in recent memory. In 2020, we experienced the ramifications of the Covid pandemic, lockdowns, civil […]
Last year, was one of the best years for the firearms industry in recent memory. In 2020, we experienced the ramifications of the Covid pandemic, lockdowns, civil unrest, and defund the police movement that swept through the nation. This uncertainty and unrest lead to Americans using their constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. This sudden surge in activity lead to record profit margins for manufacturers, dealers, and retailers of firearms and ammunition.
We seen record profits from firearm manufacturers such as Ruger. During the third quarter of 2019 Ruger reported the company made $146 million dollars in sales. Which is up 53% from the $95 million dollars made in the third quarter a year ago. Sig Sauer and Wilson Combat are expanding manufacturing and production space to accommodate for the surge of demand in there products. While Vista Outdoors has a back order on $1billion dollars worth of ammunition. Showing the demand is outstripping what the industry is able to supply and produce.
To get a grasp of our success let’s look at some numbers. In 2020, the FBI conducted over 35.75 million NICS background checks. Which beats the pervious record set back in 2019 of 28.36 million checks. Last year, no less than 2.7 milllion checks where conducted in a single month. Background checks reached its apex during June when 3.9 million checks were conducted. The year ended strongly for the industry. In December 3,937,066 checks conducted. Beating out June by 5,400+ checks.
Also, during 2020 the industry also gained 8.4 million new first time gun buyers, according to National Firearms Association (NRA). Of those new first time gun owners a large portion of them where women or from minority communities.
When it was all said in done 2020 was a profitable and successful year for the firearms industry. Now, we look to take those strides made in 2020 and continue them in 2021.
State Of The Industry In 2021
The industry is posed to have another solid year. Firearm demand and sales are currently high. Ammunition prices are still high due to demand and scarcity. Along with the inclusion of 5+ million new shooters who might to choose to invest deeper into firearm industry and its products.
The industry can adjust to this influx of demand and grow to meet it. If we adjust correctly the industry will have another year of financial gain and prosperity.
Yet, this new year presents some new challenges that we didn’t face last year as an industry. There are three main challenges we face as an industry in 2021.
A Joe Biden Presidency
First, the incumbent Presidency of Joe Biden. During the Presidential campaign President Elect Biden made firearms and gun violence one of the cornerstones of his platform. He discussed plans on reinstating the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban with some major caveats.
Biden wants to reinstate the ‘94 weapons ban, which would make modern semi-automatic sporting rifles/AR-15s illegal to posses. He’s policy on firearms and gun violence would ban the manufacture or sale of AR-15’s and standard capacity magazines. Also, with the reinstatement of the ‘94 ban he would make semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazine apart of the National Firearms Act. Creating a scenario where owners would have to pay a $200 tax stamp for all weapons and magazines to be registered under the NFA. Which would create a National Gun Registry for a potential confiscation in the future. The second option would be Biden’s mandatory buy back program. Making lawful gun owners sell back there firearms to the government for pennies on the dollar.
President Elect Biden Gun policy plan also seeks to crackdown on Polymer80 receivers (pistol or rifle), legal Form 1 suppressor kits, and prohibit the sales of firearms and ammunition online. His administration would also seek to have “Red Flag” laws in all 50 states, along with much more restrictions.
Biden’s gun policy platform and goals for this administration are clearly anti second amendment. The Biden administration plan is to subjugate firearm owners and to make the price of owning firearm viable only to the wealthy. His plans will in turn allow only the wealthy elite to own firearms for personal protection or sport.
When it comes to defending our freedoms and liberties the firearm community and industry must be united. As Abraham Lincoln once famously stated, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We must present a united front. We must tell them, “None shall pass!” We must not compromise. We shall not compromise. If we do we are sacrificing the freedoms of future generations.
How we fight and defend our rights over the next four years of a potential Biden Presidency will dictate the health and wellness of our industry. It is imperative we fight to defend and maintain our rights to keep and bear arms in this great nation.
Education and Integration of 8+million New Shooters Into The Community
The second challenge we face in 2021 is integrating the 8+million first time gun buyers properly into the community. We have to make the knowledge easy to find and accessible. Have a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. Purchasing a firearm was already potentially intimidating for a first time buyer now we have to make that process deeper into the community as effortless as possible.
First, we need to provide first time owners access to knowledge either it be online or locally where they live. Firearm advocacy groups and organizations need to come and work together to make that information easy to find. That means National Shooting Sports Foundation, Gun Owners Of America, US Concealed Carry Association, and others need to coordinate on disseminating useful information to new shooters.
The information that should be available are: safety rules, basic handling, basic firearm nomenclature for pistol, rifle, and shotgun, how to properly store firearms, and weapon safety for homes with children.
Other organizations such as Firearm Policy Coalition, Gun Owners of America, USCCA, can provide helpful information on understanding the 2nd amendment and what it protects. Along with the restrictions, responsibilities, and legalities gun ownership comes with.
The biggest weakness to our community is not educating people and not seeking to control our own narrative. We need to counterattack ignorance with knowledge by giving the people access to a wealth of information easily so they can find the truth for themselves. Knowledge is power.
Secondly, we have to be welcoming and supportive atmosphere in the firearms community. When first entering into the community it is not new owner friendly. I know I experienced some of the “we are too cool for school” attitude. All the while being snobbish when it comes to gear and firearms. It boils down to an elitist attitude in my opinion that drives people away. That mentality projects a person who is a jerk and makes people pull away for engaging within the community.
As, a new shooter it is hard already to find information you can trust. Then, to find the people how are not helpful and treat you like an idiot is no better. We are all once new gun owners and shooters who knew nothing. Now, it is time to pay it back by being open and welcoming to new gun owners.
There is no dumb question. Every question is a valid one to a person who knows nothing about firearms. Our goal is to be ambassadors to the community and show the best we have to offer. As, I said before I biggest weakness is not controlling our industry’s narrative that needs to change minds and bring new shooters in.
Industry Trade Shows
The final challenge are trade shows. Last year, we didn’t have any major industry trade shows due to Covid-19 lockdowns and social distancing protocols. These cancelled events hindered the product release cycle for 2020. A lot of products were being held to a 2021 release. Now, this year shows have the potentially of being cancelled. Back in December Shot Show was cancelled. Shot Show is the largest trade show event of the year.
Knowing that trade shows might be limited in size and scope we have to find other ways to engage with the community. We could conduct these showcases remotely or in limited numbers at a trade show. While having live question and answer segments, interviews, and product announcements. Air time on the main trade show boardcast could be paid time by the companies. Which could be pushed over to their personal live stream and questionnaire segments of their streams. They could launch major announcements solely on their channel or simultaneously on both.
I believe this will be a challenge this year and moving forward. The number of people able to go to these trade shows will shrink due to Covid-19 fears. So, we must start experimenting with alternative options for our trade shows.
In conclusion, 2021 can be a successful year for the industry if we are ready to meet these challenges head on. This year and the proceeding years will be crucial to the success and growth of our community. We face the challenge of a Biden Presidency whose policies seek to drive the industry out of business. While trampling on the constitutional rights of its citizen. Dealing with the influx of new gun owners. Providing them the resources and knowledge to be safe and informed shooters. While the industry is strong and thriving we must guard against these challenges and grow in the midst of them.