Monday, November 13, 2023

U.S. Private Firearm Ownership Tops 500 Million Following October's Surge in Gun Sales

In October 2023, firearm sales in the United States saw a significant rise, with approximately 1.33 million gun transactions recorded. This figure marks a 9% increase compared to October 2022, positioning October 2023 as the third highest in firearm sales for the month of October. Notably, the FBI's National Instant Background Check System (NICS) processed about 2.26 million checks during this month, ranking it the sixth highest October for NICS checks since the system's inception in 1999.

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It's important to note that the number of NICS checks does not directly equate to firearm sales. NICS checks are utilized for various purposes, including gun permits, and a single check can authorize the purchase of multiple firearms. Additionally, in 25 states, individuals with qualifying permits can purchase guns without undergoing further NICS checks, affecting the ratio of checks to sales.

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The surge in gun sales was anticipated following the Hamas raid in Israel, which resulted in over 1,400 Israeli deaths, primarily civilians. Israel has since been reconsidering its strict gun control policies. Historically, the concept of regulated warfare is relatively modern, with roots in the philosophies of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. However, traditional tribal warfare often lacked such regulations. The recent events in Israel and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia highlight the harsh reality that those armed and willing to use their weapons can only be effectively countered by similarly armed and willing opposition.

In the U.S., the right to acquire weapons remains relatively unrestricted. Since 1996, the number of privately owned firearms has approximately doubled, with the current estimate nearing 500 million. This equates to over 1.5 guns per U.S. resident. The primary motive for owning firearms in the U.S. is self-protection and the defense of others.

With the addition of October's sales, the total gun sales for 2023 amount to approximately 12.01 million. Accounting for firearms already in private possession, about 10.4 million new private firearms were added in 2023. By the end of 2022, the estimated private stock of firearms was around 490 million, suggesting that as of October 2023, there are approximately 500 million privately owned firearms in the United States. This half-billion privately owned firearms stock represents a significant force, unparalleled by any other nation, especially if all capable individuals were integrated into local and state militias.

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