In advance of election day, when pundits and Democrats were bullish about Hillary Clinton’s prospects for winning the presidency, the sale of firearms and ammunition spiked. Advocates of Second Amendment rights reported that nervous Americans were stockpiling ammunition and guns, fearing that a Clinton crackdown would make them unavailable. Indeed, during the election campaign, Clinton suggested that an onerous federal tax on firearms and ammunition was one way to address what Democrats and others who seek to restrict Second Amendment rights is a proliferation of weapons and violence. Many were concerned over new regulations that would restrict gun ownership.
Americans also responded to several mass shootings, such as the Muslim terrorist incident this year in Orlando, as well as to the prospect of Democrats running the White House. For eighteen months, applications to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICB) by gun buyers have reached record levels.
While gun vendors may have assumed that once Donald Trump was elected that gun sales might slack, they have observed that the election had the opposite effect. For example, on the day after Thanksgiving -- Black Friday -- the NICB processed 185,713 background checks: more than the system has ever registered in its 20-year history.
And some of those gun buyers are what the industry calls “non-traditional.” Therefore, racial and ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and liberals.
“In the more conservative gun world, there is definitely a feeling that liberals hate guns,” Liberal Gun Club spokesperson Lara Smith told the BBC. Smith told the BBC that her organization has noted a spike in inquiries ever since Trump was elected. She said that paid membership has increased by 10 percent. She claimed that some persons have expressed concern over the possibility of an increase in hate crimes that could worsen after Trump’s inauguration. Saying that these liberal gun owners want to be prepared, Smith wrote on the organization’s website, “Yes, there are liberals who dislike guns, but the vast majority of them have never been around guns and don’t know much about them other than what they are told,” Smith wrote on her organization’s website.
Smith’s group of gun owners is cooperating with non-traditional gun groups such as Black Guns Matter, and Pink Pistols. Pink Pistols promotes “legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community,” and has 45 chapters across the country. Pink Pistols website states that it “honors diversity” and “teaches queers to shoot.” Pink Pistols has cooperated with the NRA.
According to Philip Smith -- the founder of the National African American Gun Association -- his group has seen an increase of interest in gun ownership. His group currently has 14,000 members. He told NBC, “I tell everyone don’t panic, use your head. If you see something not normal, get out. You’re probably right. And if you’re not able to get out, you’re prepared to do what you need to do.”
Research conducted by Harvard and Northeastern Universities found that the majority of Americans, for the first time, say they own firearms primarily to protect themselves from other people. Researchers showed that the quantity of firearms belonging to civilians had shot up by 36 percent to an estimated 265 million weapons over the past two decades. Small Arms Analytics, a research consultancy that analyzes firearms sales, has predicted that this year will set an all-time record for the most guns sold in a single year: 17 million sold, The previous record was set in 2-13 at 15.6 million.
It is mostly handguns that people are buying. The firearms industry has sought to match its production to customers’ desires, balancing concealability against firepower. Semiautomatic pistols that use 9mm or larger ammunition are a mainstay of the market. Manufacturers produced 1.4 million 9mm pistols in 2015, up from approximately 350,000 in 1990, and more than 765,000 pistols firing ammunition at the ..40- to .50-caliber range, as compared to slightly over 200,000 such pistols in 1990.