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With a mandate to transfer the Army’s stockpile of vintage M1911 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program looming, what should those interested in picking one up expect?
The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act approved by Congress last week consists of hundreds of sections ranging from reports on the U.S. strategy in Syria to programs authorizing new icebreakers. One of these sections outlines a two-year pilot program for moving the Army’s surplus .45ACP GI longslides to the federally chartered non-profit corporation tasked with promoting firearms safety training and rifle practice. Here’s what to expect.What’s up for grabs?
In 2015, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, disclosed that the military currently spends about $2 per year to store 100,000 Model 1911s that are surplus to the Army’s needs. While 8,300 have been sold or loaned in recent years – largely through the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, which offers eligible law enforcement agencies up to one pistol per full-time officer – the guns still on hand have in many cases been stored since the 1980s when they were withdrawn from service in favor of the then-new Beretta 92F (M9). Production of 1911’s for military contracts largely ended by 1945, meaning the guns on hand date to the World War II-era or before.
On a visit to the “Army’s attic” the Army Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot earlier this year, Guns.com was shown crates packed and filled with M1911s pulled from the military’s museum stocks that were in excess of the service’s needs, pending shipment to the CMP once the handgun program got underway. This means there are literally everything from museum pieces on the high-end of the spectrum to stripped receivers on the low end and everything in between.How do you get them?
By law, the CMP can only sell surplus military firearms given to the organization by the Army to adult members of affiliated clubs who meet certain guidelines. These include being a U.S. citizen who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm as well as proving membership in a CMP-affiliated organization and, for those under 60, proof of marksmanship-related activity.
On the bright side, there are literally thousands of shooting and collecting clubs as well as Veterans organizations such as the VFW that are affiliated with the CMP and showing marksmanship or firearms knowledge is as easy as sending in a copy of a concealed carry permit, military service records or proof of participation in a shooting competition.When will they be available?
First off, the NDAA still must be approved by the White House and signed into law. Under its guidelines, no less than 8,000 M1911s — and no more than 10,000 — are to be sent by the military to the CMP each year for the next two years, which will require the Secretary of the Army to implement. Transporting the guns from the Anniston Army Depot across town to the CMP’s warehouses is the easy part. The lengthy process will start when CMP starts going through the mystery crates and inspecting, grading, test-firing and cataloging what is inside, which could take months. Some guns could be incomplete. Others could need significant repairs. The odds of finding a mint-in-the-box specimen that has escaped 70-years of Army life without being issued will be slim, but even those guns will have to be checked and certified.What will they cost?
Military contract 1911s were made by several commercial vendors to include Colt, Ithaca, North American, Remington Rand, Singer, UMC and Union Switch & Signal as well as in government arsenals at Springfield Armory and were often reworked by unit armorers in the field and at depots during their lifespan.
Some extremely rare variants such as 1916-marked examples, “big stamp” guns with oversized property marks, and those with limited runs, as in the case with Singers and US&S, currently garner soaring prices with collectors. Such rare birds, if found in good condition from the Army, will likely be culled from the herd and sold on individual auctions through the CMP’s site, which is customary for sought-after models.
The more rank and file examples would likely be sold graded in varying degrees such as the group does with their M1 rifles (e.g. rack-field-service-special-correct-collector) at sliding prices close to market scale, sorted by receiver manufacturer.
Still, no matter what, the gun will be an actual real-deal “Government Issue 1911” which is a timeless aesthetic that has proved to be popular with a host of gun makers over the past century and never goes out of style.
The post How, when and where will the CMP 1911s be available? appeared first on Guns.com.
Hundreds of victims of the Oct. 1 massacre in Las Vegas are filing lawsuits against the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and its parent company, the organizers of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, and the estate of the man who pulled the trigger, Stephen Paddock.
In all, five lawsuits were filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to Reuters. The largest suit included as many as 450 victims.
Fifty-eight people were killed, and hundreds more injured when Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of his hotel room for more than 10 minutes before turning a gun on himself.
Houston-based attorney Muhammad Aziz is heading up the lawsuits and says they were filed in California because that’s where most of the plaintiffs are from. The victims say MGM Resorts International, as well as its subsidiary Mandalay Corp, failed to monitor Paddock’s activities. They allege the company did not adequately train staff members or deploy adequate security measures.
“The incident that took place on October 1st was a terrible tragedy perpetrated by an evil man,” MGM told Business Insider. “These kinds of lawsuits are not unexpected and we intend to defend ourselves against them. That said, out of respect for the victims, we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels.”
The plaintiffs say Live Nation, which operates in California, failed to provide adequate exits at the concert, and failed to give proper training to staff members in the event of an emergency.
The victims also sued the shooter’s estate. Paddock is thought to have been worth millions.
Several other lawsuits have been filed since the shooting, most of them in Nevada. One previously filed suit named Slide Fire Solutions, the company that manufactured the bump stock Paddock used. Aziz said the lawsuits filed Monday didn’t go after Slide Fire because many of his clients support the Second Amendment.
“We want to focus on hotel and venue security, not turn this into a gun rights case,” he said.
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Poking around in the marsh of the Dutch lowlands, this group of magnet-armed relic hunters finds everything from 60mm mortar shells and Mills bombs to a relatively complete M1 Garand.
With the ordnance piling up, these wetsuit-clad bros pull up a 2.36-inch M6A1 Bazooka rocket with the fins intact before scoring most of a Garand rifle. Once they clean it up, it proves to be a 1.9 Springfield, which dates to around August 1943– about a year before D-Day and the Allied invasion of Western Europe.
One of the first countries to fall during the German Blitzkrieg, the Netherlands was occupied from May 1940 until the Allies began to liberate the country in late 1944– though Free Dutch Forces fought outside of Holland alongside British and American troops throughout the war. The Dutch also had several large underground resistance organizations that gave the occupiers a bit of heartburn.
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The reward for any information leading to the capture of a killer terrorizing Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood reached $100,000 this week.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay upped the sum to six figures after the Federal Bureau of Investigation pledged $50,000 for tips leading to an arrest. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement promised an additional $10,000 and Rise Tampa guaranteed $20,000.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pledged $20,000 to the reward fund earlier this month.
“Let’s hope this encourages someone with the strength and the fortitude to step forward to tell us who is doing this,” Police Chief Brian Dugan said during a news conference last week.
The beefed-up reward comes after the suspected serial killer gunned down a fourth victim — 60-year-old Ronald Felton — just steps from the food bank where he volunteered twice a week.
A witness described the person who shot and killed Felton as a thin, black male with a light complexion, approximately six-feet tall, wearing all black and carrying a large black pistol. He attacked Felton as he crossed Nebraska Avenue toward New Season Apostolic Ministries just before 5 a.m on Nov. 14.
Felton’s slaying broke a month of relative calm in Seminole Heights as police continue piecing together evidence from the cases of the shooter’s three other victims: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20.
Naiboa was found Oct. 19 near 15th Street N. and E. Frierson Avenue, about 200 yards away from the Ellicott Street bus stop where Mitchell was shot Oct. 9. Residents discovered Hoffa’s body Oct. 13 in a vacant lot six blocks away. She was last seen walking through the neighborhood two days earlier. Felton’s murder falls within the same 1-mile radius and investigators believe the cases are linked.
Dugan said during a Nov. 15 news conference the department received more than 2,000 tips in the case, but still don’t know the identity of the killer.
The biggest lead, so far, comes in the form of grainy video footage captured from nearby surveillance cameras. Dugan said Wednesday the man featured in the video appeared in the moments before and after Mitchell’s murder Oct. 9 and again just minutes before Felton’s murder last week.
“Someone has to know who this individual is,” Dugan said. “We are now calling this person a suspect and we need to know who this person is. We need someone who is thoughtful, cares, and has the heart, the fortitude, the bravery to step forward and tell us who this person and give us the identity.”
“I don’t need speculation. We don’t need profiles. We need names. It’s pretty simple,” he added.
Anonymous tips can be submitted online through Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay or by calling 1-800-873-8477 (TIPS).
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Precision shooting products manufacturer and supplier, Creedmoor Sports, introduced four new products to its reloading accessories series aimed at making reloading simpler and faster.
The Creedmoor Wilson Case Trimmer Platform, the Creedmoor Annealing Made Perfect Pilot Holder, The 30 Caliber Loading Block and 22 Caliber Loading Block are the latest to hit the reloading series.
The Creedmoor Wilson Case Trimmer Platform is a mounting board for the L.E. Wilson case trimmer, which offers the ability to store nine different case holders. It comes with a polymer tapping block for knocking cases out of the holder. Featuring four rubber feet to secure the platform to the bench, the Wilson Case Trimmer Platform touts a MSRP of $43.95.
The Creedmoor Annealing Made Perfect Pilot Holder keeps supplies organized with 10 different pilots and a brass shell holder grip. Creedmoor Sports says the holes are perfectly sized to keep pilot upright so reloaders can easily find which one is needed for the job. MSRP is set at $22.95.
The 30 Caliber and 223 Caliber Loading Blocks round out the new product offerings. The durable loading blocks feature grooved sides to create and easy to grip area. The white color allows reloaders to quickly identify any spilled powder while a chamfered hole permits easy brass placement. the loading blocks come in 25 and 50 round configuration, with both dishwasher safe. The loading blocks range in price from $11.95 to $14.95.
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Othais and Mae with C&Rsenal go feature-length into the history, development, and variants of the U.S. Springfield 1903 as part of their Great War Small Arms Primer series.
Designed in response to the shortfalls of the Krag–Jørgensen rifle experienced by American troops when fighting Mauser-armed Spanish troops in Cuba and Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War, the stripper-clip-charged M1903 became the standard military rifle of the U.S. throughout World War I (though augmented by the M1917 Enfield) and kept on plugging into World War II (though officially replaced by the M1 Garand).
And if you are curious about everything from the .30-03 and early rod-type bayonets to oddball WWI spin-offs like the Air Service Model, the periscope-equipped trench guns like the Guiberson, the Pedersen semi-auto and Warner-Swasey sniper variants– check out this great video.
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A New York lawmaker is making a bid to bring back federal legislation that would make selling guns to a prohibited possessor worth 20 years in federal prison.
The measure, proposed by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, would make it a crime to sell two or more guns to someone whom the seller knows is prohibited from legally possessing them. It is a repeat of legislation proposed by Gillibrand in 2013 and 2015 that never made it out of committee.
“Over the last year and a half, our country has suffered through three of the five biggest mass-shootings in our history and thousands more Americans have been victims of gun violence on a much smaller scale, but Congress has done nothing to solve this crisis,” Gillibrand said in a statement.
The bill, termed the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act, is named after two teens killed in New York with guns traced to out-of-state origins.
Gillibrand contends there is no federal crime that specifically recognizes gun trafficking. Her bill would modify current law to make it a felony to transfer two or more guns in an instance where there is a reasonable belief that doing so would be in violation of the law. The crime would extend to those directing or assisting others in such transfers. Penalties for those convicted could run as high as 20 years with ringleaders facing 25.
Past versions of the proposal have had the strong endorsement of gun control advocates and community leaders in New York, but failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill.
The senator, who assumed the seat formerly held by Hillary Clinton in 2009 after a special election, has long been a champion for gun control and is currently backing measures to revive a federal ban on “assault weapons” and implement a new one on bump stocks.
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With less than two months remaining in 2017, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System appears on track for its second busiest year ever.
Gun dealers submitted just over 20 million applications to NICS through Oct. 31 — about 9.5 percent behind 2016, the single biggest year for background checks, and by proxy gun sales, in the system’s two-decade history.
Estimated gun sales — the sum total of applications submitted to the federal system for its handgun, long gun, multiple and other categories — surpassed 10.1 million last month. Compared to last year, sales declined 12.5 percent.
The numbers reflect an industry still re-calibrating under “a new normal.” President Donald Trump’s victory stunned gun makers and retailers alike, many of whom amassed inventory in preparation for a Democratic electoral sweep and the heightened demand it would bring.
Instead, prices tanked as dealers tried to unload product throughout the year. Background checks ebbed and flow more in line with historical trends — a steady sales uptick in winter that bottoms out over the summer, resuscitated in the fall as hunting seasons kick-off.
The industry’s most profitable weeks — aside from short bursts of demand following mass shootings, terror attacks or congressional action — set in Black Friday and extend throughout the holiday shopping season.
Eight of the 10 busiest days in NICS history occurred in November and December, according to federal data. Four of those dates — including its strongest day ever, Nov. 25, 2016 — fell on a Black Friday. Dealers submitted 5.3 million checks in the last two months of 2016 alone.
A robust selling season could upend a year of double digit losses for top gun makers — including American Outdoor Brands, Vista Outdoor and Sturm, Ruger and Co.
“We are not yet seeing the recovery that we expected to see,” said Vista Outdoor Chief Financial Officer Stephen Nolan during a conference call with investors earlier this month. “Shooting sports has always been a cyclical industry with periodic downturns lasting anywhere from 12 to 24 months. While we may not be at the bottom as of yet, we believe that we are very close and we anticipate that the market will show returns to growth over the next 18 months.”
Estimated sales in October topped 1 million for the first time in six months, federal data shows. Dealers transferred just under 520,000 handguns and more than 480,000 long guns — the busiest month for the category so far this year.
Top gun makers never doubted the ongoing weak demand would eat into their bottom lines. This year’s comps will be particularly difficult given the politically-charged environment bolstering the industry in the run-up to the 2016 election, Ruger CEO Chris Killoy told investors earlier this month. His company’s earnings fell 53 percent last quarter, the gun maker’s second double digit loss this year.
Likewise, American Outdoor Brands — the holding company for Smith & Wesson — forecasted annual profits will shrink more than 18 percent. The company plans to release its latest quarterly earnings Nov. 30.
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Competition shooter Kirsten Joy Weiss flips traditional pistol marksmanship on its head in an effort to break a few eggs downrange by exercising her little finger’s trigger control.
Sure, tapping a raw chicken egg with a stainless Volquartsen Scorpion with a .22LR is child’s play, but when going inverted it is a whole new challenge and takes her a few tries before she can connect.
Also, remember that earpro!
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Concealed carry has evolved from the simple days of a holster on the hip. These days, gun owners tote firearms in an array of set-ups; but one style of holster, in particular, is steadily gaining steam — concealed carry clothing.
The hallmark of concealed carry clothing is that it marries traditional clothing styles with an integrated holster. Undershirts, shorts, leggings, even jackets and vests are now creeping into the holster marketplace sporting handy pockets ready to carry gun owners’ favorite sidearms.
5.11 Tactical, best known for its tactically inspired clothing and gear, boasts several entries in the concealed carry clothing marketplace. Joel Alarcon, 5.11’s Vice President of GMM Consumer Division, told Guns.com in an email that the company’s decision to offer apparel tailored to concealed carry stemmed from 5.11’s booming uniform business.
“(Concealed carry clothing) was a natural extension from our uniform business. We were meeting with our end users and they consistently asked for more casual looking clothes that were built with a tactical mindset,” Alarcon said. “With our expansion into the concealed carry area, it’s really opened up many opportunities for us to provide real solutions to many areas were men and women have historically just been making do with product that wasn’t designed for their needs.”
The company launched several items including shirts, tanks and even jackets for both men and women to allow consumers to tote guns of varying sizes. Alarcon said the reception has been fantastic and is driving further innovation on 5.11’s concealment apparel.
“They’ve been received very well as we’ve been able to bring some real innovation, high performance and comfort to gear that looks great and totally at home in everyday environments like our Apex Pants and Defender-Flex Jeans,” he said. “We’re growing our overall concealed carry offering and you’ll see us expand into performance outerwear, additional packs and bags, growth into women’s specific options and new styles of shirts, shorts and pants.”
Though companies like 5.11 and UnderTech Undercover offer concealment clothing for men, the largest contingency of holstered clothing is aimed at women. Promising to conceal firearms and even smooth figures, women seem to be looking to concealment clothing as a solution to their carrying conundrums.
Marilyn Smolenski founded Nickel and Lace, a holster company that focuses on built-in holster systems for women, after seeing a need for more concealment options for women who couldn’t support a standard or traditional holster. Smolenski said the advantage to a built-in system like the her Luxe Lace Compression Camisole is that women get more bang for their buck.
“The advantage of Nickel and Lace having built-in concealed carry capabilities is that these pockets are versatile,” Smolenski told Guns.com in an email. “The holster pockets can also be used to carry other self defense items, keys, personal items, money, etc.”
Female gun owners have long lagged behind men in numbers, but according to a National Shooting Sports Foundation study in 2015, the minority group is gaining steam in the firearms sector. The study found that women account for the fastest growing gun owning demographic. Since the study’s release at SHOT Show in 2015, retailers have upped their marketing and product offerings to entice more females.
With a litany of “women specific” gear, it’s no surprise that holster makers would seek to find a niche angle to satisfy female gun toters looking for a convenient means of carry. For 5.11 this means adding more options to its lineup of concealed carry gear.
“We’re growing our overall concealed carry offering and you’ll see us expand into performance outerwear, additional packs & bags, growth into women’s specific options and new styles of shirts, shorts and pants,” 5.11’s Alarcon said.
Though Nickel and Lace’s new products have been temporarily put on hold so that it’s CEO can run for an Illinois House of Representatives seat in 2018, Smolenski said the company intends to continue to cater to women.
“Our clothing line has been pulled for the duration of my campaign; however, I am still active with Nickel and Lace and have plans to attend/participate at USCCA’s 2018 expo,” she said.
With the subtle push from consumers looking for alternatives to traditional holster rigs, manufacturers seem to be poised to take on this new contingent of clients looking for an immersive clothing and concealment experience.
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Comp-Tac announced a new shooting vest, the Comp-Tac Armadillo, designed for IDPA shooting matches requiring firearm draws from concealment.
A result of the company’s recent acquisition of Armadillo Concealment, the Comp-Tac Armadillo is IDPA compliant. Built from 10-ounce-weight thick cotton duck cloth, the vest is available in four regular sizes as well as four tall sizes. In addition, the vest comes in a total of five standard colors and can be tailored for every day wear in addition to competition.
Each vest boasts two large Velcro-closed pockets and two smaller upper pockets. Designed for IDPA shooters in need of a lightweight cover garment for concealment stages during matches, Comp-Tac says having a vest that moves freely during competition stages is vital for IDPA shooters.
“When hundredths of a second can make a difference between a pretty good run and winning, it’s critical to be able to quickly and reliably move clothing out of the way to get to your gun – and then have that clothing quickly return to out-of-the way normal carry position during firing,” Randi Rogers, Comp-Tac Victory Gear Sales and Marketing Manager, said in a press release.
Available in tan, grey, blue, red and green the Comp-Tac Armadillo vest is priced at $140. Custom embroidery is optional but does incur extra charges.
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Rankled by news of police officers having their guns easily swiped from personal cars and cruisers, a Tennessee state senator challenged a local reporter to find the handgun hidden in his car.
Republican state Sen. Jon Lundberg told WJHL he was disappointed about the reports that as many as two dozen police guns were stolen in Tennessee since 2010, with three officers disciplined over the matter. Stressing the importance of securing firearms left in vehicles, he gave a reporter a full minute to rummage through his SUV on a $20 bet that the newshound couldn’t sniff out his gun. The amateur bandit failed.
“It’s frankly just a good reminder for folks,” said Lundberg, a concealed carry permit holder.
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Developed by J.L. Cameron and L.E. Yaggi during the Great War to allow Doughboys to pop shots at the Kaiser’s sauerkraut-eating legions across No Man’s Land, this rare trench rifle is up for auction.
Up for bid in Rock Island Auction’s upcoming December Premiere Firearms Auction, this late WWI model (1918-marked barrel) Springfield Armory Model 1903 rifle comes complete with a very hard to find Cameron-Yaggi device, one of several “trench periscope” setups tested for use in that horrible “War to end all wars.”
To avoid the Richard Harrow treatment, the idea was that marksmen could use these periscope-fitted rifles to pick off the enemy– with special attention paid to enemy snipers– while safely utilizing the cover and concealment of a nice muddy trench filled with rats and puddles of mustard gas.
Ian with Forgotten Weapons takes a look at Cameron-Yaggi rig, including taking a few shots of .30-06 over a simulated parapet in the above video.
This particular rifle comes from Bruce Canfield’s own collection (he literally wrote most of the noteworthy books on U.S. military small arms currently in circulation) and was featured in a number of books itself.
For a closer look, check out this table-top inspection below.
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Lucid Optics expands its series of optics accessories, launching the new TP4 Full Size Tripod designed for optics stability.
The TP4, constructed to provide exceptional stability, uses a four-section aluminum build to stabilize optics. Utilizing twist-lock leg sections, shooters and spotters can adjust height quickly, offering a 17.5-inch to 62-inch range. The ball head mount, included with the TP4, offers adjustments to dial in the perfect position for viewing shots while a built-in Mono-Pod feature creates an easy means for toting the tripod around in the field.
Weighing just over 3-pounds, the rubber non-slip feet grip surfaces, preventing slippage. The company says the TP4 will also come equipped with a back pack anchor, hand lanyard, quick detach optics plate and hand warmer in two of the legs.
“For the best optics performance, stability is key,” Lucid Optics said in a press release. “This full featured tripod is sure to get you stable and let you see with a Lucid Optics view, clearly.”
Though the TP4 won’t be available until 2018, consumers can expect to see it enter the marketplace with the price tag of $179.
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Mossy Oak borrows from the styles of the tactical world to deliver the new Dieback Thigh Rig designed for hunters who wish to forgo fanny pack style bags.
The Dieback Thigh Rig fits onto the hips of hunters, providing space for essentials without the added bulk of large packs. The Dieback attaches via buckle around the waist and thigh, sitting atop the leg where it can be easily and quickly accessed.
The thigh rig touts a zippered rear pocket to store a full-sized handgun, while the main pocket includes four mesh dividers. The dividers organize multi-tools, flashlights, carcass tags as well as other personal items. MOLLE webbing along the outside of the bag offers additional storage capabilities for MOLLE compatible accessories.
Though the Dieback is designed to be worn on the hip, it also doubles as a sling bag should the need arise.
“Quite simply, the Dieback is meant to be the anti-fanny pack,” said Mossy Oak Hunting Accessories Brand Director Mike Jones in a statement. “For many hunters, larger, bulkier packs are overkill, and we wanted to create a unique solution for the minimalist who historically has worn a lumbar style pack. Often there are only a handful of key items a hunter needs, and the Dieback is able to store all of them without the excess weight and bulk.”
Featuring a height of 11-inches, width at 8-inches and a diameter of 5.5-inches, the Dieback Thigh Rig is priced at $19.99.
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday announced the awards for the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services program, which gives federal dollars to up the number of street cops.
In all, some $98.4 million in grants were awarded to 179 city, county and tribal law enforcement agencies from coast to coast with an eye towards funding 802 new positions. Sessions earlier this year announced the awards process would focus “priority consideration” on issuing the awards to departments that were willing to play ball with federal authorities on immigration laws, and announced that most of the grants greenlighted by Washington met these criteria.
“Cities and states that cooperate with federal law enforcement make all of us safer by helping remove dangerous criminals from our communities,” said Sessions in a statement. “Today, the Justice Department announced that 80 percent of this year’s COPS Hiring Program grantees have agreed to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in their detention facilities.”
The awards on average provide about $125,000 per-position to each department, with most grants for a single new officer. The big winners of the program for 2017 are Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, and Florida’s Dade and Orange Counties, each of which will pick up funding for 25 new positions. Notably, California only received $4.1 million in grants, with almost half of that figure going to Sacramento.
The 2017 award is among the lowest in the history of the program, which has spent $14 billion on community policing since it was established in 1994, providing officers to 13,000 of the nation’s 16,000 law enforcement agencies at one time or another.
Implemented as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act signed by President Bill Clinton, the first year’s funding stood at $148 million. By 1998, appropriations for the program grew to a staggering $1.63 billion then fell steadily to about $500 million a decade later. The Obama administration ramped up COPS once again, increasing funding to $1.55 billion by 2009.
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The gun control advocate took to social media to urge those headed to spend time with friends and family on Thanksgiving to ask them about how they store their guns beforehand.
“It’s #ThanksgivingWeek: Have you asked the friends and family your kids are visiting if there are guns in their homes and how they store them?” said Watts, founder of Bloomberg-allied Mom’s Demand Action.
“Please please please ask about how your Thanksgiving hosts store their guns. I’ve heard too many stories about loaded guns in shoe boxes, under the bed or on the fridge,” she continued, linking to Everytown’s Be Smart for Kids campaign which stresses responsible gun storage as a cornerstone to prevent unintentional shootings.
The message from Watts is more understated than those used in past years. In 2014, Everytown and Moms Demand Action provided its members a gun control flashcard of sorts, packed with figures and facts, to use around the dinner table while also pushing gun control-themed Thanksgiving arts and crafts including a “gun sense turkey.”
A similar campaign in 2013 prompted the National Rifle Association to fire back with a “Bloomberg is full of stuffing” rebuttal.
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Reports on gun sales often follow a tragedy that forces a national debate about gun ownership. When figures are up, they’re interpreted as successful political efforts by pro-gun organizations. When they’re down, the opposite is true. But sometimes results reported are askew or incomplete. They miss the larger patterns that exist or outright misrepresent the numbers.
The goal of this report isn’t to criticize any individual publication. There has been accurate reporting on the gun industry by a variety of outlets as well as misleading reports — whether intentional or not. But rather that put anyone down, the goal is to help readers better consume reporting about gun sales, especially in a political context.
This report takes a deep dive into the data and examines the extended timeline. This article — A Reader’s Guide to Gun Sales — aims to identify these short bursts as well as the annual nature of gun sales.THE EBB AND FLOW
January gun sales — benefiting from hold offs from Christmastime — are above average for the year, but they climb higher heading into spring. Then, levels begin to descend toward a low point for the year in the summer season. In August, they start upward again and steadily increase each month until reaching a high point in December. After the new year, the cycle repeats itself. This is the ordinary demand that drives the gun industry year after year.
The clustering of hunting seasons, trade shows and holiday shopping guides gun sales into those patterns, which the gun industry uses to map out annual plans and product releases. Yet, certain unplanned events can cause sudden spikes in sales. Fear of either mass violence or legislation putting limits on gun rights are typically credited for causing an influx.
Those conclusions come from analyzing gun sales from 1999 to 2016. The figures were cultivated from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which conducts checks on potential buyers for licensed gun dealers. The federal government launched the system in November 1998, so the public has 17-years of NICS data. That timeline spans four presidents, two full administrations and some of the most tumultuous events in American history.
At the start of each month, the FBI updates the NICS webpage with total checks from the month prior. The industry estimates guns sold that month by subtracting firearm permit checks from the total. Currently, results often cut the total in half. Yet, the industry’s formula for creating a proxy measure allows for mild inflation because there are 12 different categories listed in NICS reports, but realistically only four represent actual guns sold.
“Gun sales” in this report refer to the sum of NICS categories: handguns, long guns, other and multiple. “Handguns” represent pistols and revolvers; “long guns” represent both rifles and shotguns; “other” represents gun parts that legally fit the definition of a firearm as well as other firearms that contain a unique aesthetic feature; and “multiple” means a check of a person buying more than one gun.
Since NICS launched in 1999, gun sales have nearly doubled, increasing from 7.9 million in the system’s first full year of operation to 15.6 million in 2016. The gun industry pulled in an estimated $13 billion from gun and ammo sales last year, according to IBIS, an industry market researcher. The 97.5 percent growth is largely attributed to handgun sales, which grew 219 percent, jumping from 2.5 million to 8.1 million in the 19-year period. Long gun sales saw 15 percent growth, even though they averaged 5.2 million per year, including the two years they jumped well above that average.
The “other” category of firearm sales has also seen significant growth, some 96 percent since its inclusion in 2009. However, “other” contributes only a small percent each year, 3.8 percent in 2016, which actually translates to the considerable figure of 586,137. Checks covering the purchase of multiple guns grew by about 60 percent since 1999, but they also only contribute a small percent – 1.7 percent in 2016.DIFFERENCES BY ADMINISTRATION
NICS has been in place for four presidents but only two full administrations. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — whose tenures will be the focus of this section — led the country during times of significant tragedies, economic hardships and political polarization, but NICS data shows their terms had a very different impact on gun sales.
Bush served during the 9/11 attacks, more than a dozen mass shootings and even signed gun control legislation, but sales averaged a predictable 7.1 million annually during his tenure. Leading up to the 2000 election, gun sales amounted to 7.07 million and continued at an almost identical flow into 2001. In 2002, they plummeted 11.9 percent and declined another 0.2 percent in 2003. Then, in Bush’s re-election year, they grew by 4.1 percent and continued upward each year of his second term. The only other significant change happened in his final year in office when gun sales grew by, coincidentally, 11.9 percent, pushing past 8 million for the first time in NICS history. But that spike was attributed to the rise in popularity of then-presidential candidate Obama.
Under Obama — who also managed during significant hardships — they soared and even fluctuated unpredictably. In 2009, Obama’s first year, gun sales increased 6 percent, his second year saw a 2 percent decrease, and then his third year saw a 14.6 percent jump. While he hadn’t launched a concerted effort to advance gun control legislation, that growth was prompted by political uncertainty of what could happen during the 2012 general election. At the time, gun rights organizations and advocates believed Obama had been leading conspiracies to confiscate firearms through international treaties, undercover law enforcement operations and in the federal courts. The 2012 election year was already on track for a new record before the U.S. saw the Sandy Hook massacre.THE SURGE YEAR
On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and murdered 20 first-graders and six educators before turning a gun on himself. It reflected an amalgamation of worst-case scenarios for both pro- and anti-gun advocates: a mentally deranged man with easy access to an AR-style rifle and high capacity magazines entered an unprotected school to murder children and teachers.
Obama had resisted discussing gun control after a number of high-profile mass shootings during his first term, but after Sandy Hook he declared that he would “take meaningful action.” Congressional lawmakers, while on break from the legislative session, began curating bills ranging from an assault weapons ban to universal background checks.
The NRA’s strategy at the time was to go radio silent in the wake of an incident, but the organization reacted to the public’s urgent need for action and held a press conference. In a prepared statement, NRA’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre shared the group’s own list of contributing factors that allowed for the shooting — violence in video games and movies, and a lack of mental health care — and introduced a proposal to design a school safety plan predicated on the idea that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
December 2012’s sales jumped by 61 percent. The second half of the month accounted for eight of the biggest days for checks that year. Four of them made the top 10 list and the week after the shooting ranked in a top spot for most checks in a single week. The shooting boosted December’s gun sales to 2.2 million, a 61 percent increase from the year before.
After the new year, Obama released 23 executive actions as part of a plan to identify solutions for reducing gun violence. During the next few months, Congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle would engage in a much-heated debate over how to prevent the next tragedy.
The issue culminated in April when two U.S. senators — Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Manchin — filed a bill to expand background checks to include sales at gun shows and over the Internet. Most Democrats, gun control groups and even some pro-gun organizations backed the Manchin-Toomey amendment, but the NRA launched a campaign against it, saying it “would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission.”
While the measure’s language specifically exempted private sales between family and friends, the gun lobby presented a narrow set of circumstances that could be incriminating. They involved a person posting an ad for a firearm online and then selling it to a family member. Industry trade groups also challenged the proposal, arguing it would put a strain small gun dealers who would have to call in the checks. The pro-gun groups that had supported it began to back away. Within a week, when the measure was put to a vote, but the Manchin-Toomey amendment failed to receive two-thirds majority votes to advance.
While federal efforts petered off by spring, state lawmakers continued debates. By the end of 2013, state lawmakers filed 1,500 gun bills, but only 109 became law. That final tally breaks down into 39 laws tightening gun restrictions and 70 easing restrictions and expanding rights for gun owners, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
The intense, year-long political debate is credited with causing panic-buying that forced demand to greatly outpace supply. The industry referred to it as a surge year. Throughout 2013, NICS processed more than 21 million background checks, including 13.9 million sales. Images of empty gun racks and shelves barely containing only obscure calibers of ammunition circulated and made major headlines.
For the most part, the gun industry was caught off guard. ATF manufacturing data shows that gun makers attempted to overcorrect, producing some 16.4 million guns. Even though inventory levels were high, few in the gun industry suffered. With gun control still in plain view, most gun companies made a profit. Gun sales fell in 2014 by 12.4 percent and then made some gains in 2015, increasing 9.4 percent.
Although the annual record has already been beaten, 2013 is highlighted because it was a year unlike any other. One where rhetoric finally caught up with reality. Gun advocates nervous about Obama taking political action on gun control reacted when a horrific incident forced him to take action.
Does 2013 show that mass killings and reactions to them generate higher gun sales? The answer is often presented as a definitive “yes” because people are afraid of repeat or copycat attacks, but there is no consistent answer. A review of daily NICS checks shows a correlation between elevated gun sales and some mass killings, as well as a correlation between elevated gun sales and some gun legislation. But for a more accurate answer, you have to look at the day-to-day numbers.MASS KILLINGS, ELECTIONS & GUN LAWS
While it’s easy to identify significant changes within coherent timelines, there’s a lot of volatility making it difficult to separate the noise from the music. While some increases can be directly tied to political action, it’s more important to look at the context that shapes political action.
Weekly gun sales also have their own distinct patterns. They fluctuate Monday through Thursday and then Friday and Saturday tradeoff for the biggest day of the week. Sundays always end the week with a low point. The days of the week are often bolstered by seasonal events, like holiday shopping. In the case of an unplanned event, sales may elevate during the week, but generally people wait until the weekend.
To determine these patterns, I reviewed day-to-day NICS checks provided by the FBI for the entirety of the system. But unlike monthly checks, the data was raw. So, for more accurate levels, I adjusted the daily checks by multiplying monthly ranges of daily checks with the correlating monthly rate of gun sales. In turn, the reduced number of checks per day reflected the monthly sales rate.
A review of day-to-day transactions centering on significant events that are largely believed to impact gun sales gives credence to the idea that specific variables create a political climate necessary for gun sales to flourish beyond predictable patterns. When Obama was in power, any action he took to advance gun control influenced sales. When Bush did, it had a limited impact. That conclusion was the result of reviewing more than 60 events and specifically analyzing 28 mass killings, elections and changes to federal gun laws.
Mass shootings are more common than most people realize, but most incidents do not match descriptions revealed after high-profile attacks. To approach mass violence, I relied heavily on an open-source database published by Mother Jones. The list focuses on indiscriminate rampages in public places resulting in four or more victims killed by the attacker, but excludes shootings spurred by more conventional crimes such as armed robbery or gang violence.
While I reviewed data from more than 50 attacks during the Bush and Obama years, I was selective with this list because determining the impact on sales can be difficult when they occur in November or December. Even when adjusting for seasonality, the differences by day are often too great. Also, the datasets for each incident include four weeks before the shooting and six weeks after because in some cases the response could have been delayed.
More complex studies than this one have shown that mass violence does impact gun sales, but my conclusion after reviewing dozens of graphs is that some unpredictable, violent behavior may have an impact on national sales. For this, though, I also tried to identify if there was a political or legislative response immediately following the incident that may have also influenced consumer behavior.
– Navistar shooting | Melrose Park, IL | Feb. 5, 2001 – A 66-year-old ex-employee opened fire at his former workplace, killing five people and injuring four others before committing suicide. The gunman had a criminal past, including a sexual assault conviction, but no signs of mental illness. He obtained his firearms legally.
The Bush administration, which had taken office just a few weeks before, responded to questions about the shooting, saying Bush supported enforcement of current laws, but would support legislation to mandate safety locks be sold with all handguns.
State gun sales in February 2001 fell 8.4 percent from the year before. National gun sales followed normal seasonal patterns in the wake of the shooting. The incident occurred on a Monday, typically one of the lowest days of the week. But the levels on days in which sales would have increased did not exceed the year before nor did they increase from the week before.
– 9/11 attacks | New York, NY | Sept. 11, 2001 – Religious extremists hijacked four planes, flying two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon and a third crashed in Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people died. Gun sales had a noticeable jump after the worst terror attack on U.S. soil. Rates throughout the week increased.
The incident seemed to effect daily sales rather than just weekend sales. During the four weeks leading up to the attack, gun sales mirrored the year before, showing a difference of about 0.04 percent, but gun sales during four weeks after the attack jumped 45 percent from the month before and 22 percent from the same time period in 2000.
The White House and both chambers of Congress reacted to the attack with legislation expanding federal authority to monitor and surveil individuals and groups on U.S. soil but stopped short prohibiting those on terror watch lists from buying firearms.
A year after the attack, the NRA explained it had seen growing interest in personal protection and more states considering relaxing concealed carry laws.
– Lockheed Martin shooting | Meridian, MS | July 8, 2003 – A 48-year-old assembly line worker opened fire at his workplace in a racially motivated attack before committing suicide. He killed seven people and injured eight others. The gunman’s cousin said he was depressed and “going through a lot of things.” He had bought his guns legally.
Incidents like this in more recent times have garnered more attention. The gunman involved had been hostile toward African-American coworkers in that he openly used racial slurs and mimicked wearing a Klansman’s hood, according to reports. Witnesses said company mandated racial sensitivity training is what pushed the gunman over the edge. But local authorities dismissed allegations that it was a racially motivated attack because the gunman had also murdered white people.
State gun sales in July 2003 jumped slightly, a mere 2.3 percent, from the year before. National gun sales before and after the attack mirrored the same time frame in 2002. They showed about a 1.5 percent difference.
– Living Church of God shooting | Brookfield, WI | March 12, 2005 – A 44-year-old church member opened fire during a meeting at a hotel before committing suicide. He killed seven people and injured four others.
State gun sales in March 2005 saw little change, with less than one percent difference from the year before. National gun sales followed normal seasonal patterns, but at slightly elevated levels before and after the shooting. The six weeks after the shooting saw about a 5.2 percent increase and during the 10-week period sampled gun sales saw a 5.8 percent increase overall.
– Capitol Hill shooting | Seattle, WA | March 25, 2006 – A 28-year-old gunman opened fire at a rave afterparty in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood before committing suicide. State gun sales in March 2006 jumped 7.5 percent from the year before. Across the nation, guns sold at a higher rate in 2006 during the 10-week period isolated for this sample.
In the week following the shooting, daily sales saw an increase that seemed to follow the same pattern as the weeks before. However, there was a noticeable jump nine days after the shooting, but the increase could be an anomaly rather than a reaction to the shooting. With a substantial decrease on Sunday and increase on Monday, the change could have been a reporting issue.
– Virginia Tech | Blacksburg, VA | April 16, 2007 – The Virginia Tech shooting — resulting in 32 people dead and 23 others injured — exposed flaws in the federal background check system. A district court ruled that the gunman — a student at the school — was “an imminent danger” to himself and others as a result of mental illness identified two years earlier. The gunman had been directed to seek treatment.
State gun sales in April 2007 actually fell substantially, some 21 percent from the year before, with the biggest loses in the handgun category. NICS records show 3,299 fewer handguns sold in the state. In May 2007, gun sales saw little change with less than one percent difference from 2006.
National gun sales following the incident increased only marginally, but if the incident had an impact, it was delayed. A noticeable increase appeared three weeks after the event. However, the incident, paired with the legal loopholes that allowed the gunman to obtain his weapons, created a context for action. Lawmakers introduced a bipartisan measure with the backing of pro-gun and gun control advocates to update the background check system.
– Atlantis Plastics | Henderson, KY | June 25, 2008 – A 25-year-old disgruntled employee opened fire at the Atlantis Plastics factory after he was escorted out because of an argument with a supervisor. He shot the supervisor outside before opening fire on coworkers inside and then committed suicide. He had called his girlfriend two hours before the shooting to say he was going to kill his boss. The incident spurred debate about whether or not guns should be allowed at the workplace.
In the six weeks after the shooting, national gun sales saw about a 2 percent increase. Yet, the next day, the Supreme Court handed down a major pro-gun victory — D.C. v Heller — that expanded Second Amendment rights to include self-defense. State gun sales in June 2008 fell by some 3 percent from the year before.
– Fort Hood | Fort Hood, TX | Nov. 5, 2009 – A 39-year-old Army psychiatrist opened fire at the Army base — killing 13 people and injuring another 30 — in an attack linked to religious extremism. He was injured during the attack and later arrested. Medical officials had raised concerns prior to the shooting regarding his aloof and erratic behavior and extremist Islamic views.
Obama gave little mention to the incident when he discussed it during a speech for about three minutes. But advocates debated “gun free zones” on military bases. Gun sales failed to rise above the year before — Obama’s election year.
– Giffords shooting | Tucson, AZ | Jan. 8, 2011 – During an attempted assassination of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, a deranged gunman killed six people and injured 14 others.
The incident led lawmakers to address growing political polarization and vitriolic rhetoric. Obama addressed the nation, offering thoughts and prayers. Yet, public debate centered on magazine capacity since the gunman used an extended 33-round magazine for his Glock handgun.
An investigation revealed the gunman obtained his firearm legally, but ran into hurdles when he tried to buy ammo. The clerk refused to sell him the items due to his behavior and appearance, which forced him to buy somewhere else.
National gun sales followed seasonal trends, showing an increase before the shooting and hovering around the same rate as the year before in the wake of the shooting. The largest jump occurred more than 30 days after the attack.
State gun sales in January 2011 jumped 31 percent from the year before, with the biggest gains in handgun sales. More than 2,800 handguns sold in Arizona in 2011 than in 2010.
– Theater shooting | Aurora, CO | July 20, 2012 – A mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, resulted in 12 people dead and more than 50 others injured. The mentally ill gunman obtaining guns legally and buying ammo and other items online reignited debate about easy access to firearms and high capacity magazines.
Obama addressed issues of safety and security in vulnerable locations. The NRA shut down social media pages and declined to comment on the incident.
Gun sales, which were already selling at a high rate during 2012, continued at a higher rate. Many Colorado patrons immediately following the incident said they were buying guns out of fear of copycat attacks. Local reports show gun sales jumped roughly 40 percent from the week before. But overall, state gun sales in July 2012 increased some 14 percent from the year before, with gains in both handguns and long guns.
– Washington Navy Yard | Washington, DC | Sept. 16, 2013 – A 34-year-old a military contractor opened fire in the Navy installation, killing 12 people and wounding eight before police stopped him. The gunman — who had been undergoing mental health treatment with Veterans Affairs since August 2013 — had told authorities the prior month that he had “heard voices.” Despite the relevant issues, he obtained his guns legally.
In a brief statement, Obama praised servicemen and women, and advised: “We’re going to be investigating thoroughly what happened, as we do so many of these shootings, sadly, that have happened, and do everything that we can to try to prevent them.”
During the 10-week time period centering on the shooting, gun sales increased less than 1 percent. The weekend two weeks after the shooting, gun sales had a noticeable increase of 34 percent. But 2013 sales rates largely mirrored the year before.
– Isla Vista rampage | Santa Barbara, CA | May 23, 2014 – The 22-year-old killer shot three people to death in Isla Vista, near the University of California-Santa Barbara. He also shot others as he drove around town, and injured some by hitting them with his car. He committed suicide as police closed in. Prior to the rampage, he stabbed three people to death at his apartment.
The killer had a history of mental issues and had received treatment. In the weeks before the shooting, the killer’s family contacted authorities about his erratic behavior. Yet, that confrontation did little in terms of revealing imminent danger. Also, the killer had already obtained two handguns. Family of victims largely condemned “craven and irresponsible” politicians and the NRA for failures to act on gun control.
National gun sales both before and after the attack failed to beat out the year before — the surge year, which, at the time, was the highest on record. State gun sales in May 2014 saw little change, with less than a one percent difference.
Months after the attack, state lawmakers crafted legislation specifically to address the aforementioned scenario, allowing family to enable a person to ask a judge to have guns seized from a family member who they think is a danger to themselves or others.
– Emanuel AME Church | Charleston, SC | July 17, 2015 – A 21-year-old white supremacist opened fire inside the historic black church, killing nine parishioners. The gunman had planned the killing and sought to make a political statement.
Obama asked the nation to “shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively” during his address on the incident. “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it,” he added.
Local and state leaders responded to the incident by addressing racism and condemning those who act out violently on those beliefs. The response culminated in the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds.
The gunman had obtained his guns through a legal loophole — dubbed “the Charleston loophole.” He should have been denied by the background check due to a pending drug charge, which an FBI examiner didn’t confirm within the allotted time frame — three days — and by default the gun dealer was permitted to complete the transfer.
Before the shooting, gun sales closely mirrored the year before, heading toward a low point for the year. But after the attack, gun sales made a noticeable jump, showing a sharp spike the weekend after the shooting and elevated levels throughout the rest of the month. State gun sales in July 2015 jumped some 40 percent, with the largest gains in handguns. More than 3,000 more handguns sold in the state in 2015 than in 2014.
Gun sales increase during presidential elections when the odds are in favor of a candidate advocating gun control or believed to be planning to advance gun control measures. But if other issues outweigh guns and guns are not on the ballot, gun sales maintain normal seasonal patterns. Also — and perhaps more dependable — are Black Friday sales, which have steadily increased over the years. The seasonal shopping day has caused a noticeable spike at the end of every November.
– Republican majority in Congress ’02 | Midterm Elections | Nov. 5, 2002 – While also in control of the White House, Republicans took majority seats in both chambers of Congress during the Midterm Elections on Nov. 5, 2002. With the nation still recovering from the 9/11 attacks, the public expressed more concerns over terrorism and war. The election seemed to have had little to no effect on gun sales. The year before — presumably still seeing an impact from the 9/11 attacks — saw higher levels.
– Bush re-elected | Presidential Election | Nov. 2, 2004 – Over an eight-week period centering on the 2004 Presidential Election, gun sales saw a 4.2 percent increase overall, but it seems like a stretch to attribute the gain to gun politics. With looming fears of terrorist attacks and U.S. troops engaged in two wars, guns and gun control were not key issues during the campaign, even though the candidates — Bush and then U.S. Sen. John Kerry — had opposing views on those issues as well.
– Democrat majority in Congress | Midterm Elections | Nov. 7, 2006 – Gun sales saw a slight increase the weekend before the election, but 2006 largely mirrored 2005 during the eight-week period selected for the sample. The data showed a 3.5 percent difference between years. Political analysts generally agreed that Democrats won a majority of elections because of Bush’s handling of the Iraq War in addition to overall dissatisfaction with the federal government.
– Obama elected president | Presidential Election | Nov. 2, 2008 – Although gun control was not among the major issues during the 2008 presidential election nor did then-candidate Obama focus on it, the NRA’s campaign against him described him as advocating far-reaching policies to control gun ownership. As a state lawmaker, Obama had opposed measures supporting gun use for self-defense and supported local handgun bans. His approach to gun ownership, by and large, was the opposite of Bush’s.
National gun sales saw a noticeable jump in the weeks after the election, jumping 54 percent from the same time period the year before. That time frame includes Black Friday sales, which always contribute a significant percentage of November sales. That holiday shopping tradition netted a 58 percent increase from the year before.
– Republican majority in Congress | Midterm Elections | Nov. 2, 2010 – Economic and health care issues largely drove the 2010 Midterm Elections. With Democrats controlling the federal government, the pendulum swung in favor of Republicans. About 80 percent of NRA-endorsed candidates — some Democrats, too — were elected. Most voters ranked the economy as their primary among the key issues. Gun sales largely mirrored the year before, jumping only slightly the weekend after the election.
– Obama re-elected | Presidential Election – Nov. 2, 2012 – Although Obama had not launched a concerted effort to advance gun control legislation nor had he really publicly mentioned it, gun owners felt on edge about what Obama might do. Plus, the issue hadn’t yet picked up the steam it would weeks later. Economic issues took the lead that election. In the weeks leading up to the election, gun sales fell by about 11 percent.
– Republican majority in Congress | Midterm Elections| Nov. 4, 2014 – The 2014 midterm elections lacked a key, singular issue. That, and dissatisfaction with both political parties failed to encourage voter turnout, survey data shows. Gun control was on the agenda during campaigns, but results garnered mixed reviews. Democrats lost more seats in both chambers of Congress and most NRA-backed candidates won, but gun control groups had significant political victories at the state level. Gun sales that election year closely mirrored the year before – the surge year – but significantly more people bought guns during Black Friday sales in 2014.
Congress introduced some 1,900 bills that included the word “firearm” between 2001 and 2016. Roughly 140 of those became law, with the majority involving the federal budget or national security. And, only a handful involved some form of gun control.
For this section, I used a common list circulating on the Internet called A Timeline of Gun Control in the United States as a jumping off point. While gun sales increased amid debate over gun control in more recent years, they actually maintained moderate levels while following normal seasonal patterns after perhaps the most impactful events, which occurred during the Bush administration.
– Federal Assault Weapons ban expires | Legislation | Sept. 13, 2004 – A provision under a federal crime prevention law that banned assault weapons expired. Bush had not planned on re-authorizing it and had made clear he and Congress were unwilling to invest political capital to expand it any longer. As reasoning, the administration cited the downward trend of violent crime, but an assessment of the ban’s actual impact had not been completed at the time.
Even though the removal of the measure expanded the types of guns available, the change made little difference in national gun sales. With the exception of a noticeable jump two weeks after the change, 2004 sales in that time frame largely mirrored the year before. The data shows an almost 5 percent increase overall during the eight-week period sampled.
– Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act | Legislation | Oct. 26, 2005 – When PLCAA enacted as federal law in 2005, it appeared to have had little to no effect on gun sales, at least, at the consumer level. Gun sales followed seasonal trends both before and after the measure, which shields firearm manufacturers from liability for criminal misuse with their products, was implemented.
– NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 | Legislation | June 11, 2007 / Jan. 8, 2008 – Almost two months after the Virginia Tech shooting, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a measure to improve the background check system. Bush came out in support of it following a review of the incident, framing it as school safety.
The measure aimed to improve and update the system’s recordkeeping because the details about the Virginia Tech gunman’s dangerous mental health history, which would have prohibited him from buying a gun, were unavailable to background check examiners.
The NRA, which also supported the measure, informed its members that the bill “was not gun control” because it updates NICS with records about people already prohibited from owning firearms.
It’s unclear what impact the measure had on gun sales as the trend line shows a higher rate both before and after the measure was introduced. But if gun buyers were concerned with the idea of improved background checks, they had little to no response in the weeks before the measure enacted in January 2008.
– D.C. vs Heller | SCOTUS Decision | June 26, 2008 – In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that gave greater clarity for legal interpretations of the Second Amendment, extending the definition as a right to own guns for self-defense.
The decision allowed pro-gun groups to launch a legal assault nationwide on laws controlling the bearing and keeping of arms. National gun sales saw about a 2 percent increase. Yet, the day before the high court handed down the decision, Kentucky experienced the Atlantis factory shooting.
– Concealed carry expanded to National Parks | Legislation | Feb. 22, 2010 – Obama signed an economic measure with an amendment tucked away that expanded concealed carry, when permitted by the state, into the National Parks. Levels of gun sales did not rise above the year before.HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
Like in 2013, new gun control legislation seemed like it could take shape in 2016. In the December before the new year, the U.S. experienced a horrific mass shooting that embodied concerns of both Democrats and Republicans: terrorists armed with AR-style rifles opened fire during a holiday office party in San Bernardino, California, killing 16 people and injuring 24 before they were killed in a shootout with police.
Responses to the incident culminated in the form of legislation crafted to block anyone on a No Fly List from buying firearms from licensed dealers, a concept the president advocated in one-on-one interviews with journalists, but gun rights advocates argued would violate due process laws. December 2015 saw 3.3 million NICS checks, including 2.2 million sales, a 28 percent jump from the year before. Three weeks in that month ranked in the top 10.
Knowing Congress would have a difficult time passing gun legislation, the president issued a series of executive actions after the new year designed to bolster current gun laws, especially the background check system. Gun groups, which had promoted similar changes, resisted the actions.
Immediately following Obama giving his signature to the executive actions, gun sales saw a noticeable spike. The same day — a Monday — NICS processed almost 50 percent more sales checks. Sales rates would continue at elevated levels until around May when they leveled out during the seasonal decline.
But then another attack similar to the San Bernardino struck the U.S. A gunman who claimed terrorist ties used an AR-style rifle to murder 49 people inside a nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. While Democrats saw the incident as validating the need to prohibit gun sales to those on a No Fly List, they also renewed arguments for an assault weapons ban.
At this point in the year, gun sales had been following seasonal trends. While they were up 14.7 percent from 2015, they had been declining month-to-month while entering summer. However, in 2016, the summer months saw unseasonally high growth rather than continued decline. This surge sets 2016 apart from other years for gun sales.
Sales in 2016’s June jumped 38.6 percent, July jumped by 30.3 percent and this trend continued through August, which saw sales grow by 15.6 percent. And each month would set a new record for total checks.THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
There’s another aspect of 2016 that explains record-setting gun sales for the year and that’s the presidential election. Unlike Obama during his campaign, former secretary of state and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had openly advocated for gun control policies and had made it a key part of her agenda. But not only that, many professional pundits and analysts predicted that the seasoned politician would win.
Clinton adopted a wish list of sorts for gun control policies. Her support ran the gamut from digestible universal background checks to tightening restrictions for domestic abusers to the polarizing assault weapons ban. With concrete examples to debate, pro-gun organizations responded in kind but centered their arguments on filling a Supreme Court seat vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who had penned significant pro-gun opinions for the high court.
Mass carnage kept the debate in the forefront during the campaign year and with Clinton predicted to win, passing gun control legislation seemed inevitable. At a speaking event in Cleveland, she told the audience that “weapons of war have no place on our streets” in response to the Orlando nightclub shooting and reiterated arguments supporting gun control legislation.
“If the FBI is watching you for a suspected terrorist link, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked. And you shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show. And yes, if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America,” she said.
“Now, I know some will say that assault weapons and background checks are totally separate issues having nothing to do with terrorism. Well, in Orlando and San Bernardino terrorists used assault weapons, the AR-15. And they used it to kill Americans. That was the same assault weapon used to kill those little children in Sandy Hook,” she continued.
“We have to make it harder for people who should not have those weapons of war. And that may not stop every shooting or every terrorist attack, but it will stop some and it will save lives and it will protect our first responders. And I want you to know, I’m not going to stop fighting for these kinds of provisions.”
Leading up to the election, a majority of voters identified “gun policy” as a factor in how they would vote. Concerns about gun policy ranked for supporters of Clinton and Trump. The number of gun sales was noticeably higher in the weeks leading up to election day, but after the surprising results put Trump in the White House, gun sales fell and dropped below levels from the year before.UNDER FRIENDLY POLITICS
Surging sales helped the gun industry expand under the Obama administration. Amid the success, gun makers acknowledged that political volatility was not a reliable long term business model, yet, they overproduced guns and ammo inventories in preparation for the pro-gun control Clinton administration to take power. So, when Trump won, they found themselves with clogged and overflowing inventory channels.
Trump aligned himself with the NRA early and the organization became one of the first — and at a few times during his campaign, only — mainstream political group to publicly endorse him. He adopted the organization’s platform for his policy agenda. The NRA went on to spend more than $30 million in support of his campaign. They’ve maintained their relationship even after Trump took office, even becoming the first sitting president in 30 years to speak at the group’s annual convention.
Since election day last year, the industry has struggled to move products and has turned to discounting items with rebates and other incentives. Manufacturers and retailers have seen damage to their bottom line, reporting lower profits and in some cases declaring bankruptcy.
Pollsters collecting demographic information on the gun buying public have published a mixed bag of results. Executives in the industry – citing work by industry trade groups – say younger individuals, more minorities and more women are participating in the shooting sports. But national surveys show little change among gun owners, with data showing the majority are still white males and gun ownership is neither growing nor decreasing.
So, for now it seems, the industry seems to be relying on the hold outs who were waiting for prices to drop and buy according to seasonal demand. Yet, if 2017 has done anything for gun sales, it has shown that annual gun sales have grown from the years before the Obama administration. The simple fact that they haven’t yet returned to pre-Obama levels proves that. But, the lingering question the industry faces now is what is the new normal? Only time will tell.
Wilson Combat debuted a new Super Sniper Rifle chambered in precision shooting’s darling round, the 6.5 Creedmoor.
The Super Sniper boasts a Wilson Combat Recon Tactical 22-inch match grade barrel on an overall 42-inch length frame. Featuring a rifle length gas system with SLR Rifleworks Gas Block, the long gun utilizes a billet upper and lower receiver.
The gun is prepped with several features aimed to elevate its performance, including the Wilson Combat T.R.I.M rail, Rogers/Wilson Super-Stoc and Wilson Combat single-stage Tactical Trigger Unit. Topped off with a Armor-Tuff finish, Wilson Combat fans have the option to order the rifle in a custom Amor-Tuff finish with Wilson Combat subdued flag logo stencil emblazoned on the gun. Additional optional custom upgrades include a threaded muzzle with Rapid Thread Muzzle Break.
Wilson Combat says arming the rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor was no accident, pointing to the rounds high ballistic coefficient and downrange performance in precision rifle shooting and hunting.
“When seeking the best extended-range shooting or hunting performance in an AR platform rifle the 6.5 Creedmoor is the logical choice,” the company said in a statement. “With a wide variety of quality factory ammunition available and 308 AR magazine and receiver compatibility, the 6.5 Creedmoor is in a performance class by itself.”
Base pricing on the Super Sniper in 6.5 Creedmoor starts at $3,290.
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Arguing the state’s conservation agency lacks the authority to greenlight the season, an animal welfare group has filed a lawsuit to halt rifle-hunting for deer on state and federal land in Indiana.
The legal action, filed by the Center for Wildlife Ethics in a state court last week, takes exception with an emergency rule issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources earlier this month to help solve a problem caused by a new law that inadvertently barred sportsmen taking deer with rifles from state and federal land. The CWE argues that the temporary rule by state conservation officials circumvents the will of the state legislature.
“I’m concerned that the DNR can subvert the legislature,” Laura Nirenberg, an attorney for the Center, told the IndyStar. “They are exceeding their statutory authority.”
The fix, now under fire, came after a mistake in the language of a bill meant, ironically, to expand hunting opportunities by amending Indiana’s rifle season for deer hunting to allow the use of more rifle calibers. Instead, the act only applied to private land and eliminated public options, leaving deer hunters on public land with only handguns, shotguns, and muzzleloaders as approved firearms.
Though the season opened on Friday and DNR stands by its decision, LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos has set a hearing Monday to consider the request from the animal rights group.
According to DNR, hunters in Indiana harvested 44,673 deer using rifles last season, accounting for 37 percent of all animals taken.
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