Big gun manufacturers reporting sales have fallen to pre-pandemic levels.
Jeffrey Massengill, co-owner of Americana Guns in Beeville, told us his local gun store is still seeing a rise in sales, around 115 – 120% above pre-pandemic levels.
“During the pandemic, we were well over 15,000 per year of guns sold or transferred,” Massengill said.
A report from CNBC shows new gun ownership rose to 21 million in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, which is an all-time high for the industry.
Fast forward to today, Sturm, Ruger and Company, the largest publicly traded gunmaker in the U.S., reported a 28% year-over-year drop in sales in the third quarter of 2022.
Before the pandemic, Massengill said he was selling 8 to 10,000 guns a year. But seeing a 50% increase during lockdowns was shocking.
“At the very beginning, we were very concerned on how we were going to maintain payroll,” Massengill said.
Massengill said at the start of the pandemic; he thought he would have to dip into his overstock of firearms and other items to make ends meet. “Thank god we live in Texas,” he said.
Back in March 2020, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said gun stores are essential businesses and should remain open during the pandemic.
“You know our public customers could come and go as they pleased,” Massengill said.
Massengill said with the shift in Presidents, requests for stricter gun laws and recent tragic events start changing perspectives on owning firearms.
“And it makes people think I better get rid of this, and other people think I better go out and buy it while it’s still available,” Massengill said .
The one thing Massengill said he is worried about now is the paperwork required by the ATF.
“It’s an onerous process as it is, and it’s only going to become more so,” Massengill said.