Consumer Products

Gun Sales Double in These 2 States. Every State Ranked.

Gun sales in the United States rose 40% last year to 39,695,315. That represents the high water mark in annual gun sales since the current record-keeping system went into effect, and the increase is part of a trend. Increases by state in March varied substantially, as has been the case for years. In two states, sales more than doubled year over year.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation tracks gun sales and publishes a list of how many are handled as part of its National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Each month, the figures are reported by state. Nearly everyone put through this system qualifies as a buyer. People who are excluded usually have criminal records. Of the more than 310 million checks that have been done since 1998, there have only been 1.5 million denials. Therefore, the data is the best proxy for U.S. gun sales available.

Growing civil unrest may have prompted people to buy guns for personal and family protection, many social scientists have posited, although this remains a matter of debate. Another theory is that chaos brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is a major cause. A new UC Davis School of Medicine study about fear of violence reports: “The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated persistent structural, economic, and social inequities in the conditions that contribute to violence and its consequences.”

Who bought these guns? CBS News pointed out that over 5 million people were first-time gun buyers last year. CNN reported a sharp rise in sales to Black Americans and women. “Sales to women are also up 40% through September when compared with the same period last year,” the news network pointed out.

The March increase should not be taken as unusual, nor should the rise in gun sales from 2019 to 2020 be viewed as an anomaly. The number of gun sales has increased most years since 1999. Sales first topped 25 million in 2016, 20 million in 2013, 15 million in 2011 and 10 million in 2006. In 1999, the first full year the FBI kept data, sales totaled 9,138,123.

Gun sales in the United States rose by 25% in March compared to the same month last year. In two states, they more than doubled. Sales rose 125% in New Jersey to over 24,500. They rose 121% or so in Illinois to 1.43 million. Illinois also topped all states in total sales in March.

At the current pace, gun sales in America will reach almost 45 million this year. It is too early to say whether the March trend will continue. However, it is nearly assured that 2021 will set another annual record.

This is how much gun sales rose in each state in March:

State Total Annual Change
New Jersey 24,563 124.89%
Illinois 1,427,917 121.35%
Indiana 206,884 60.36%
Kentucky 330,476 40.45%
Iowa 32,870 33.34%
Pennsylvania 154,301 23.43%
Connecticut 28,021 21.29%
Massachusetts 28,257 19.84%
Alabama 107,474 16.00%
Mississippi 38,031 13.24%
Georgia 95,449 12.82%
Idaho 34,839 12.42%
Utah 112,572 11.04%
Louisiana 46,633 10.99%
South Dakota 12,430 9.69%
South Carolina 55,773 9.46%
Minnesota 105,224 8.87%
Montana 18,329 8.55%
North Carolina 90,090 8.44%
Arkansas 34,134 7.84%
Tennessee 93,979 6.24%
Wyoming 9,348 5.66%
Maryland 30,754 4.56%
Michigan 112,066 4.26%
West Virginia 27,426 4.10%
Alaska 10,170 2.32%
Missouri 77,617 1.78%
North Dakota 9,200 0.70%
Maine 14,536 −0.62%
Washington 74,860 −0.89%
Wisconsin 76,885 −1.19%
Nebraska 10,860 −2.64%
Oklahoma 48,568 −3.24%
Hawaii 1,770 −3.96%
Nevada 21,101 −5.10%
New Mexico 23,024 -6.30%
Florida 178,247 −7.28%
Kansas 26,915 −9.73%
Colorado 69,757 −9.76%
Delaware 7,280 −10.38%
California 143,742 −12.62%
Virginia 72,438 −13.43%
Ohio 98,474 −13.68%
Oregon 49,752 −15.84%
Vermont 5,909 −15.86%
New York 49,158 −17.78%
Texas 222,409 −18.89%
Rhode Island 4,957 −19.65%
Arizona 65,805 −20.50%
New Hampshire 17,186 −23.50%

Click here to read about U.S. gun sales reaching a record 4.7 million.