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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Virginia Gun Sales Normalize in 2014

The Times Dispatch reports that Virginia firearm transactions through the state police instant background check system dropped 15% in 2014 from the number registered in 2013.  This is to be expected as 2013 saw a huge increase in sales driven by the gun ban push by President Obama after the Sandy Hook school shooting.  Things actually normalized with no major threats in 2014.
“It’s not surprising,” said criminologist Thomas R. Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs who specializes in criminology theory and has an interest in gun-related issues. “There have been no highly sensationalized public events of firearm violence and no knee-jerk reactionary calls for increased gun control as a response. The drop in sales should be considered in that context.” 
Baker noted that 2013’s huge spike in sales occurred mostly in the first half of that year and followed the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., and subsequent calls by politicians for increased gun control. 
Baker pointed out that firearm transactions from January through June 2014 fell by more than 25 percent from the same period in 2013. However, sales during the second half of both years were more even, declining only 3 percent in 2014. 
“So it seems that after the rush on guns following fears over (gun) control died down, gun sales normalized,” Baker said.
And one retailer contacted for the article noted even though his sales were lower in 2014 from the number he had in 2013, 2014 was still higher than 2012:
It’s hard to use 2013 as a barometer for gun sales, because it was an extreme (year) — it was off the grid,” said Mark Tosh, president of Town Gun Shop Inc., with stores in Collinsville and Chesterfield County. “Everybody could have sold more if they had more. The sky was the limit.”

Tosh said his stores saw a 16 percent sales decrease in 2014, but the numbers were still above 2012.
And while firearm sales decreased, Colonial Shooting Academy, a range in Henrico County that bills itself as the nation's largest indoor range, noted their range business increased in 2014.
Steve Satterwhite, chief executive officer of Colonial Shooting Academy in Henrico County and Virginia Beach, echoed Tosh’s assessment. “It’s definitely a case of having future demand accelerated,” he said. “In 2013, what people normally would have bought in future years, they bought in 2013.”

Satterwhite said that while 2014 firearm sales at his stores declined in line with the state average, the academy’s shooting range business continued to grow last year. “That activity — people wanting to shoot on the range — has been very good for our business,” he said.
It's definitely a buyers market right now so if you've been thinking about buying a new firearm, now is the time to do it.

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