RNA - Background checks for buying firearms are generally seen as a strong indicator of gun sales
By the end of November, over 25.4 million background checks had been conducted by the FBI, putting 2019 on pace to break the record of 27.5 million set in 2016, the last full year President Barack Obama was in the White House.
The FBI ran 202,465 checks on Black Friday alone, a day that is considered the biggest shopping event for US consumers.
Since President Donald Trump’s election, the gun industry has faced falling sales, which has been referred to as the Trump Slump, a reflection that many gun owners have little worry about firearm restrictions.
But with the 2020 presidential election less than a year away and nearly every Democratic presidential candidate proposing to restrict access to firearms if they are elected, fears appear to be increasing among gun owners again.
"The Trump Slump is real, but the politics of guns has changed a little bit over the last year,'' said Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law and an expert on gun rights and politics.
"As we're coming up upon another presidential election, Donald Trump is vulnerable, and the Democratic presidential contenders are falling all over themselves to propose more aggressive gun reforms than their opponents.’'
The industry has been going through one of its toughest periods, with some gunmakers, such as Remington Arms, filing for bankruptcy. Colt, another major firearms manufacturer, said it would suspend production of AR-15 rifles.
Amid some high-profile mass shootings in recent years, gun control advocates have gained some momentum.
Following a series of mass shootings in August that took 36 lives, Trump said he favored action, possibly on tackling mental health issues related to the violence or expanded background checks.
Previous attempts to pass gun controls after mass shootings, have mostly failed in the face of fierce lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The NRA has consistently opposed gun control efforts and financially supported politicians who oppose them as well. The gun-rights lobby spent $54 million during the 2016 presidential election, including $30 million to help Trump get elected president.
The number of mass shootings across the United States so far in 2019 has reached 385, leading to nearly 36,000 deaths and over 27,000 injuries, according to a gun violence research group.
Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country, said 2019 has already had more mass shootings than any year since 2014, when the research group started keeping track.
As of December 1, which is the 335th day of the year, there have been 385 mass shootings in the US, according to data from GVA.