The FBI recently announced that since the first full month of the Obama Administration, it has administered 70,291,049 National Instant Check System checks. That total in 49 months compares with about 36 million during the whole eight years of the George W. Bush administration. It is important to note that there is not a one-for-one correlation between NICS checks and gun sales. Some states run their own check. In many states, a CCW license substitutes for the NICS check. So 70 million checks doesn’t mean 70 million guns. But it means a whole lot of guns.
A total of 19,592,303 checks were performed in 2012, and the first quarter of 2013 saw 7,014,240 checks, which would be a full-year pace of more than 28 million. I would guess that is not going to happen, considering the greatly reduced stock of guns available. There just aren’t that many out there anymore, despite 24/7 production by all concerned.
So, for the entire Obama presidency, we’ve been running a NICS check every 1.8 seconds. The massed marketing talent of every gun company from Armalite to Zel Manufacturing could never have accomplished that, and it’s time to give credit where it’s due. Send your cards of appreciation to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20050.
And while you are at it, write out another thank-you to former President Bill Clinton. He did the U.S. gun industry an almost incalculable favor by cutting off imports of almost all Chinese guns and ammunition almost 20 years ago. The U.S. gun industry could have been ravaged like so many others by cutthroat Chinese competition and intellectual property theft, but by shutting the door, Clinton made guns one of the few industries completely protected from Mao’s heirs.
As Frank James will report in an upcoming SGN piece on the IWA Show, the Chinese are marketing line-for-line ripoffs of SIG pistols in Europe, duplicates so close that parts interchange. With 20 years to work on it, can you imagine any popular American-made gun that wouldn’t have gotten the same treatment? Ironically, Clinton, whose anti-gun bona fides are unquestionable, may well have almost single-handedly saved the U.S. firearms industry.
Now, there will be those of you who will ask this logical question. Is what’s good for the industry good for the consumer? After all, we wouldn’t be having such an ammo shortage if a couple dozen Chinese factories were pumping out product for the American market. True enough, but if we were wholly dependent on imports, it would be very easy to cut off imports. We have a right to bear arms, not necessarily a right to bear Chinese arms.
So if anyone out there is planning a Gun Hall of Fame, start carving busts of Clinton and Obama just as much as likenesses of John M. Browning, Samuel Colt, Eliphalet Remington or Oliver Winchester. By the time they’re through, they may have sold more guns.