Gun sales on the decline across the country

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After record-high gun sales in 2020, the federal government is tracking a drop in demand for background checks.

“In 2020, people were scared because of the pandemic and could imagine a collapse of society,” said Jonathan Cross, the owner of Dauntless Tactical Training. “We looked like we were about to face a doomsday.”

According to data shared with FOX13 by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, demand has dropped significantly since the pandemic.

Background checks for guns increased from 13.2 million in 2019 to 21.1 million in 2020. In 2021, the number fell to 18.5 million. In 2022, it dropped to 16.4 million.

However, not all gun sellers are seeing a sharp decrease in sales.

“It fluctuates based on people’s needs,” said Todd Gray, operating manager for Accent Guns and Loans.

Demand for training

Cross said gun owners are now asking for training to use the weapons they purchased during the pandemic.

“Those people who purchased those guns, now, they can imagine themselves becoming a victim outside of their home,” he said.

Bennett Stewart told FOX13 that he purchased ‘a lot’ of guns in 2020 and 2021 because he worried the government would restrict sales.

“I heard all those kind of rumors and just kind of jumped around and went and bought as many guns that I could,” he said.

Stewart, like others, is now turning to Cross for training.

“I train because I want to be accurate under pressure, stress in cases where I may have to use a gun as a tool,” he said.

More guns confiscated at TSA checkpoints

While gun sales might be declining, the Transportation Safety Administration is tracking more firearms at checkpoints.

“It’s a very costly mistake,” explained Mark Howell, a TSA spokesman. “99.9% of the time, the excuse we get is, ‘Whoops, I forgot I had it with me.’”

In Tennessee, agents discovered one firearm for ever 37,646 passengers screened. That’s three times the national rate.

“When they changed the gun law a couple of years back, the number of guns that we started finding at the security checkpoints went up exponentially,” he explained.