Gun sales continue to fall from last year’s all-time high in 47 states – 24/7 Wall St.
With more firearms per capita than any country in the world, the United States is widely considered the civilian firearms capital of the world. Likewise, it has among the highest levels of gun violence, ranking 10th in gun deaths per capita. While gun sales have increased dramatically during the pandemic, they have fallen in recent months in most parts of the country, although it’s unclear why. (Here are the country with the most firearm deaths per capita.)
According to many experts, the proliferation of guns has led to an increase in gun violence in America. Along with the increase in gun sales, the number of gun deaths has also increased. As of October 6, according to Gun Violence Archive, 34,010 people have been killed by firearms in the United States. There were 519 mass shootings in 2022. This type of violence happens daily. (Here are the States with the most murders committed with a firearm.)
Gun sales, as estimated by background checks, have risen sharply over the past two decades and hit an all-time high at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – hitting an annual record high of 39 695,315 background checks in 2020. While gun background checks are not an individual comparison of gun sales, they serve as a proxy, particularly for identifying trends.
Sales fell in 2021, but only by a modest amount, with 38,876,673 background checks. The decline, which began in the second half of 2021, became more dramatic in 2022. In the first nine months of this year, background checks fell to 23,260,943 from 30,467,508 in the same period in 2021. In 47 states, sales fell during the period, but the rate of decline varied widely by state.
To determine the states where gun sales have plummeted, 24/7 Wall St. looked at data from the FBI’s Instant National Criminal Background Check System, listing the 47 states where gun background checks firearms in the first nine months of 2022 decreased compared to the same period in 2021. States are ranked in order of percentage drop in background checks. Population figures are one-year estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.
Background checks in Illinois have dropped 58%, the most of any state. Illinois is traditionally one of the states with the highest number of gun sales each month. There is no geographic pattern among the states where sales have fallen the most and no compelling explanation for the drop in gun sales. It may be that in a country where there are 400 million firearms, demand has slowed due to an already sufficient supply.
Click here to see where gun sales continue to fall from last year’s all-time high in 47 states.