Last month was the third-highest October on record for gun sales, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The group estimates there were nearly 1.4 million background checks conducted on firearm transfers (1,370719 if you want to get specific); an 8.3% increase compared to sales in October of 2022.
It’s also the 51st month in a row with more than 1 million estimated sales; a streak that NSSF Managing Director of Public Affairs Mark Oliva says is historic. In a press release, Oliva declared the figures “demonstrate the value Americans place on their Second Amendment rights.”
This is telling, given the stark reminders of the importance of the Second Amendment protecting the right for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones. The horrific attacks on Israel followed by the escalating hate speech toward Jewish Americans, coupled with the tragic murders in Maine, are reminders that every American has the right to legally purchase a firearm to provide for their own defense. October showed that at Americans did this 1.3 million times, extending the million-plus background checks each month to 51 consecutive months.
Both the attack on Israel and the mass murder and subsequent manhunt for the killer in Maine are likely to have played a role in the increased sales, with news outlets in Maine and around the country documenting busy gun shops over the past few weeks.
“We were swamped yesterday,” Navy veteran Ryan Gagnon, a co-owner of 3 Cousins Firearms told Fox News Digital. “Our sales were up, I would say, over 200 percent compared to a typical Friday.”
Tony Lewis, who owns T and K Tactical in Augusta, around 30 miles from Lewiston, told the Portland Press Herald that he made more sales “than I did all last month.”
“People are scared,” he said during the manhunt. “Law enforcement’s pretty focused on finding this person, so if [civilians] call for assistance, they’re probably not going to get it right away. So they want to make sure they can protect themselves.”
The same fear of the unknown and the desire to defend oneself is also driving gun sales across the country in response to the Hamas attack on Israel and a rise of anti-Semitic incidents here at home.
Eric Delbert, the owner of LEPD Firearms Range and Training Center in Columbus, said he noticed a change in his businesses following Oct. 7, when the war began.
“It was almost immediate,” Delbert said. “Not just on the gun sales side. But on the ammunition side. We have also had a number of Jewish folks within their community reach out to us to talk about gun safety classes, conceal carry classes.”
WSYX reviewed gun sales at LEPD in the weeks leading up to when the war began and compared them to the sales in the three weeks following.
According to Delbert’s sales numbers, there was a 32-percent rise in ammunition sold, and a 13-percent rise in gun sales.
“We have definitely seen the correlation of world events and sales or an increase in people wanting to protect themselves,” Delbert said. “This time is a little different because it’s specific to a group of individuals stateside.”
Members of the Jewish community in Columbus said the spike in sales is not surprising.
“People you would not expect would get a gun, including me, see that there are issues and are learning,” gun owner Larry Levine said.
It would be lovely if we lived in a world where we didn’t have to concern ourselves with terror attacks or twisted souls who want to eradicate those who don’t look like, think like, or worship as they do, but that’s not reality.
The real world poses real threats to our security and safety, and I’m glad that new gun owners like Levine are taking their concerns seriously and rethinking their own attitudes toward gun ownership. I just hope that these new gun owners also understand the importance of becoming Second Amendment advocates. Exercising the right to keep and bear arms is important, but defending that right is a necessity as well these days.