Special Report

Gun Sales Are Collapsing in Nevada

Gun sales in America, as estimated by background checks, jumped at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and remained high until well into 2021. Several days and weeks in that period set all-time records. Total sales were 28,369,750 in 2019 and 39,659315 in 2020. These figures come from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System — firearm background checks are often used as a proxy for gun sales.

During the period of the increase, the number of first-time gun buyers jumped. Sales also rose among women and minorities. First-time buyers have accounted for about 20% of new gun sales nationwide in 2020.

Recently, however, gun sales have collapsed, both month to month and year over year. The pace of the decline accelerated in June. June gun sales last year totaled 3,054,726 nationwide. Last month, nationwide gun sales totaled 2,570,608. Compared to the first six months of 2021, there were 6.4 million fewer background checks for the purchase of a firearm, a 28.7% drop.

In Nevada, gun sales are falling at a similar pace to the national decline. There were a total of 80,710 FBI firearm background checks in the state in the first half of 2022 compared to 104,884 in the first six months of 2021 — a 23.0% reduction and the 14th largest decline among states.

Reasons for the slowdown are not as clear as those that explained the surge reported last year. The New York Times reported in May 2021, “While gun sales have been climbing for decades — they often spike in election years and after high-profile crimes — Americans have been on an unusual, prolonged buying spree fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, the protests last summer and the fears they both stoked.”

 

Rank State Change in sales, 1st half 2021 to 1st half 2022 Background checks in 1st half of 2022 Background checks in 1st half of 2021
47 Delaware -8.4% 34,602 37,764
46 Minnesota -8.6% 458,568 501,936
45 New York -9.6% 221,579 245,023
44 California -10.1% 691,718 769,591
43 Arizona -15.2% 273,584 322,799
42 North Dakota -15.8% 35,732 42,421
41 Tennessee -16.2% 420,199 501,372
40 Montana -17.1% 70,552 85,087
39 Iowa -17.1% 127,848 154,243
38 Maine -17.4% 53,787 65,116
37 Oregon -17.7% 201,022 244,214
36 Alaska -18.0% 39,759 48,493
35 New Mexico -18.4% 86,322 105,821
34 Oklahoma -18.5% 180,342 221,221
33 Pennsylvania -18.9% 619,530 764,206
32 Idaho -19.3% 119,491 148,011
31 Texas -19.4% 855,905 1,062,416
30 Mississippi -19.6% 134,642 167,522
29 Louisiana -19.6% 170,127 211,706
28 Florida -19.8% 748,659 933,434
27 Vermont -19.8% 22,197 27,678
26 Utah -19.9% 506,367 632,562
25 Wisconsin -20.0% 316,376 395,468
24 Massachusetts -20.4% 113,472 142,631
23 Virginia -20.7% 278,978 351,987
22 South Carolina -20.9% 209,843 265,374
21 New Hampshire -21.7% 66,013 84,286
20 Kansas -21.9% 95,135 121,781
19 Colorado -21.9% 266,553 341,260
18 Wyoming -22.2% 35,169 45,201
17 West Virginia -22.6% 92,541 119,606
16 Nebraska -22.6% 38,309 49,518
15 Connecticut -22.9% 126,268 163,741
14 Nevada -23.0% 80,710 104,884
13 Missouri -24.4% 261,399 345,880
12 Maryland -24.5% 114,372 151,424
11 Michigan -26.1% 403,011 545,526
10 South Dakota -26.7% 41,772 56,973
9 Arkansas -27.1% 113,314 155,524
8 Alabama -27.4% 374,096 515,239
7 North Carolina -28.1% 316,997 440,812
6 Ohio -28.7% 336,981 472,354
5 Rhode Island -33.7% 15,157 22,853
4 Georgia -34.6% 302,270 461,957
3 New Jersey -40.1% 81,209 135,591
2 Indiana -45.0% 625,360 1,137,707
1 Illinois -65.9% 2,064,400 6,050,704

 

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