Consumer Products

This Is the State Selling the Most Guns

Gun sales in America have fallen sharply this year. This is not due to regulations, which should become critical to protecting the population but are not in place. Some attribute this decline to a shortage in ammunition. Others say that the anxiety created by COVID-19 and social unrest has waned.

Gun sales in the first five months totaled 13,297,409, according to the FBI Firearm Background Check database. This data is often used as a proxy for sales. Last year, the comparable figure was 19,188,484. This decline may break a multiyear trend. Gun sales have risen most years since 2010 and reached a record 39,695,315 in 2020. The total barely dropped last year to 38,876, 673.

Several theories explain the sharp rise in gun sales over the past two full years and the subsequent drop in 2022. Violence in American cities during protests was one reason for the increase. These protests have been much less frequent recently. Another notion is that the pandemic had increased concerns (perhaps irrationally) about protecting one’s property. The 2022 background check figures show that these factors may have begun to disappear.

Despite the decline in sales, gun violence continues to be a regular part of the headlines this year. Murders in American cities spiked last year, particularly in large cities. So far this year, the trend has continued. Some metro areas, such as Milwaukee and Philadelphia, have reported a sharp increase in the number of murders, which in most cases involve guns.

Mass murders have surged in places from Buffalo and Philadelphia to Uvalde, Texas. A lack of regulation virtually guarantees U.S. gun sales will stay high.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 18,949 gun deaths in America so far in 2022, as of June 7. Even with stricter gun ownership and purchasing laws, the difficult fact is that private citizens and members of the police and the military currently own about 400 million guns. The chance that civilians who own guns will turn them into the government, no matter what the incentive, is small.

Gun sales in May totaled 2,340,383, down from 3,222,105 in the same period last year. Total gun sales remained high in some states. Background check figures were particularly high in Kentucky at 338,283, which puts it in first place for the month.

Here are sales totals by state for May:

  • Alabama (51,735)
  • Alaska (6,661)
  • Arizona (42,163)
  • Arkansas (15,854)
  • California (111,612)
  • Colorado (40,505)
  • Connecticut (18,914)
  • Delaware (4,322)
  • District of Columbia (878)
  • Florida (111,723)
  • Georgia (42,352)
  • Hawaii (1,334)
  • Idaho (18,711)
  • Illinois (279,089)
  • Indiana (86,916)
  • Iowa (15,142)
  • Kansas (13,118)
  • Kentucky (338,283)
  • Louisiana (22,810)
  • Maine (7,573)
  • Maryland (17,641)
  • Massachusetts (17,306)
  • Michigan (58,616)
  • Minnesota (71,729)
  • Mississippi (18,066)
  • Missouri (36,382)
  • Montana (11,440)
  • Nebraska (5,353)
  • Nevada (12,230)
  • New Hampshire (9,454)
  • New Jersey (11,608)
  • New Mexico (12,566)
  • New York (31,346)
  • North Carolina (44,641)
  • North Dakota (5,419)
  • Ohio (45,371)
  • Oklahoma (25,287)
  • Oregon (30,641)
  • Pennsylvania (88,898)
  • Rhode Island (2,136)
  • South Carolina (29,978)
  • South Dakota (5,639)
  • Tennessee (61,194)
  • Texas (128,523)
  • Utah (83,437)
  • Vermont (2,894)
  • Virginia (40,599)
  • Washington (63,908)
  • West Virginia (13,069)
  • Wisconsin (43,611)
  • Wyoming (5,684)


Click here to see more about how gun sales have plunged, including each state’s figure.

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