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Shooting Industry July 2012 Digital Edition - Page 36

U.S. Today he industry has entered a golden era, a renaissance of gun ownership that transcends a dedicated segment of Americans who consider firearms a natural part of their lives. The remarkable level of firearms sales that are exceeding previous lofty projections go beyond political- or fear-motivated factors. Yes, those elements are still present, but the dominating factor is a culture revival. Americans have discovered firearms in a way not seen in decades. The American citizenship has got it — gun ownership is OK! Gun ownership has gone mainstream. It’s OK to go out and shoot a gun just to have fun. It’s the fun factor of firearms that has been restored to the culture. To buy a gun for personal defense — yes, that factor is still very high. Consumers get that; they’re very serious about the protection factor. Concerns about how the present administration, if reelected, will attack firearms — yes, that’s still in play. However, it doesn’t stir the hearts of gun owners like it did in 2008 and 2009, and the “Obama Factor” is not driving most firearm sales today. Yet, all those firearms purchased after the presidential election of 2008 have played a key role in today’s renaissance. Then, driven by the fear that the new president would ban certain firearms, many Firearms Industry sands of dads, brothers, uncles, wives, sisters, aunts, cousins and extended family and friends, who served or are serving in Iran and Afghanistan. They are respected and admired. They carried firearms to protect our country. That factor, that imagery, has had a huge positive impact on how firearms are viewed in our country. Even if you took away the continuing Obama Factor — fear of what the president may do if reelected — the market would be healthy. That said, the Obama Factor has had another positive element, which has helped the cultural resurgence of firearms. The president has effectively muzzled the anti-gun movement since 2009, while promising, “We are working on it.” The lack of neardaily diatribes from the anti-gun movement has provided an opportunity for the industry and gun owners to tell their story. Even the president’s begrudging admission that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to own firearms helped provide an opportunity for the truth to emerge. Playing a major role in getting that truth out is NSSF, which has firmly established itself as the voice of the industry. That has been key to getting the industry story told — including recent data on impressive hiring by industry companies. NSSF’s near-instant reaction to anti-fire- By Russ Thurman Industry Enters Golden Era, Firearms Sales Set Records T seasoned gun owners and even more firsttime buyers, swarmed gun stores to purchase firearms, primarily “black rifles.” However, most of those firearms were locked away, untouched, unfired. No longer. Many of those tens of thousands of firearms are now being used in personal-defense classes, competitions, hunting and everyday plinking. The owners of those firearms have learned to shoot and have discovered a nearly dead cultural phenomenon — it’s fun! What has driven this “new” discovery? Yes, the American people have got it. It’s OK to own a firearm and it’s OK to have fun shooting. And they are buying firearms at a rate not seen in 20 years. TV has had a huge impact. Viewers are enjoying many more programs featuring firearms that go beyond hunting. Yet, hunting is enjoying a resurgence, also. Women, whose first firearms were for personal defense, are now hunting, shooting clays, competing — and buying their own firearms, ones they researched on the Internet. Social media has a remarkable impact on today’s acceptance of firearms. Another major influencing factor of gun ownership is America’s modern military veteran. There are hundreds of thou- NSSF ADJUSTED: NICS Background Checks — January 2009 — May 2012 Year Jan. Feb. 91 1,043 March 942,288 861,408 April 81 7,1 1 8 May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Totals 2009 847,808 662,956 602,1 91 602,353 687 ,252 762,572 841,631 861,575 1,031,344 9,534,1 31 71 8,971 770,310 854,563 945,463 1,1 33,371 9,436,1 82 — — — — — 5,1 48,408 2010 715,309 848,036 201 1 784,856 963,746 731,955 625,763 602,908 628,125 — — 990,840 843,484 696,947 679,840 680,258 81 5,858 878,345 945,088 1,101,0761,410,93710,791,275 2012 920,840 1,266,344 1,189,344 931,660 840,412 NSSFResearchDepartmentremovesNICSpurposecodepermitchecksusedbyseveralstatesforCCWpermitapplicationchecksand checksonactiveCCWpermitdatabases.Thisprovidesamoreaccuratepictureofcurrentmarketconditions.Visitwww.nssf.org. 36 JULY 2010 2012 Read SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com

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