Report: 40 Percent of Surging Gun Sales Are to First-Time Buyers

Semi-Automatic handguns are displayed at Duke's Sport Shop, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New Castle, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/AP Photo

Amid the surge in gun sales that began in March and continues even now, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) estimates 40 percent of sales are going to first-time gun buyers.

A report by the Wall Street Journal cites the NSSF estimate, noting that the FBI “processed 7.8 million background checks for gun purchases from March to June.”

The report pointed out that handguns make up the predominant portion of firearms being purchased, and that “nearly two handguns, commonly used for self-protection, are being sold for every rifle or shotgun.”

The handgun sales, together with the estimate that 40 percent of purchasers are first-time buyers, are indicative of Americans seeking out tools for self-defense.

Although background checks set an all-time record in March 2020 — a record shattered in June 2020 — it should be noted that every month this year has set a month-specific record for background checks. In other words, January 2020 set the record for NICS checks for the month of January, February 2020 for the month of February, March 2020 for the month of March, and on and on through June 2020.

Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting isolated and examined the background check numbers for June 2020, then estimated 2,387,524 guns were sold in that month alone.

If we apply the NSSF estimate of 40 percent of purchasers being first-time buyers, it would mean roughly 955,000 guns were sold to first-time buyers in June 2020 alone.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at You can sign up to get Down Range at


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