I got to wondering if the guy buying spree is over in North Carolina and are aspiring shop owners foolish to open now. We all know sales have been at record highs for the last couple of years and I got to wondering has the bubble burst. I figured one good way to look at the data might be to take the NICS checks and see how many we have had over the past few years. Now that is a bit skewed because NC has at least 300K people who have concealed permits and no longer require a background check, but we gotta get data from somewhere. Luckily the FBI NICS checks have statistics so I selected the Total NICS Background Checks By State report. If you do it by individual month it varies wildly so I think it would be best to average the numbers over the months of data present. So let’s look at the average number of checks per month starting in 2010.
2010 – 27,636
2011 – 31,267
2012 – 40,755
2013 – 47,885
2014 – 125,176
Now there is are odd numbers in February and March of this year, numbers which are actually difficult to believe. Let’s eliminate those months and 2014 looks like 33,698. So if you take the FBI data as stated it appears the public has an insatiable appetite for buying firearms, but if you remove the two month which to me appear suspect it seems the appetite has been satiated. I can see no reason why NC would have more than 3/4 of a million checks in a two month period because that is more than any other state in the union. Kentucky has always led the nation in checks and their biggest month ever still hasn’t broke the 300K barrier.
So just looking at the data my thinking is sales are beginning to slow, but by no means are the good old days gone. The reason I say that is those with concealed permits are no represented in any check in NC and they are the people most likely to buy additional firearms. We may be seeing a slide in the number of checks as the population of concealed permit holders increases and checks are no longer required. It would be interesting to hear what the backlog is at various manufacturers today. At one time Ruger’s backlog was a year and was at roughly 2 million units. In May the number was 1.35 million so that backlog should have shrunk to 8 months and with the opening of a NC facility may have shrunk even further. While the market may be somewhat saturated with shops it still seems like the public will continue to buy.