Why Gun Sales Boomed In June
Guns are not perishable items. Kept in good repair a firearm lasts generations. So how is it that gun sales continue to set records when more than 100 million American gun owners already have over 300 million guns?
Last month, for example, was the busiest June for gun sales ever. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for firearms manufacturers, says gun dealers completed 886,825 background checks in June 2015.
就近的说，上个月是史上枪支销售最火爆的六月。美国全国射击运动基金会（National Shooting Sports Foundation ，NSSF），一个由军火生产商组成的贸易协会，宣称2015年6月枪支销售商们完成了886,825例（对购买枪支者的）背景调查。【译注：此类背景调查所依据的是1993年通过的布雷迪手枪暴力防治法（Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act）设立的背景调查制度，该法案禁止出售枪支给受限人群。】
The NSSF follows the FBI-administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) closely. Each time someone wants to buy a gun from a licensed dealer their name must be called into the FBI’s NICS database (or, in some cases, a state-operated database) to check if that person is barred from possessing a gun.
NSSF严格遵守由FBI管理的全国即时犯罪背景调查系统（National Instant Criminal Background Check System，NICS）的有关规定。每当有人想从特许枪支销售商那里购买枪支，其姓名必须被输进FBI的NICS数据库（或者，在某些情况下，由州运营的数据库），以检查此人是否被限制拥有枪支。
The NSSF said the number of NICS checks last June was “the highest” on record “for the 17-year-old [NICS] system.” It was an increase of 10.1 percent over June 2014.
Now, some news reports say this jump in sales is all about gun owners’ fears about more gun control coming in the wake of the horrific attack on parishioners on June 17 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The thing is this can’t be the whole story because in May 2015 some 918,707 background checks were called into the FBI’s database, making it the second-highest May ever.
Rifles stand on a rack at Article 2 Gun Store in Lombard, Illinois. U.S. (Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)
美国伊利诺伊州Lombard镇的“Article 2”枪店内陈列的来复枪。【译注：Article 2即宪法第二修正案：纪律严明的民兵是保障自由州的安全所必需的，因此人民持有和携带武器的权利不得侵犯。】（摄影：Tim Boyle/Bloomberg）
For a deeper explanation I contacted Jim Curcuruto, director, industry research & analysis for the NSSF. He said, “Background checks were up over 19 percent in South Carolina, as compared to the previous June, but that one state isn’t enough to make the NICS checks jump 10 percent nationally. So, after making a lot of calls, we found that some of the bump was related to sales and other deals at retail chains. Some percentage of the rise in sales was definitely related to fear of more gun control. There are also typically spikes in sales regionally after something occurs that prompts people to look for ways to protect their own lives. But there has also been a steady rise in gun sales for some time. So there were multiple factors involved.”
Of course, we’re talking about NICS checks here, not actual gun sales. Just because someone undergoes a background check doesn’t mean they necessarily purchased a gun; also, someone could buy multiple guns after a single background check. This is why NICS is seen only as an indicator of the volume of gun sales.
Now, I started by asking why gun sales continue to set records when more than 100 million American gun owners already have over 300 million guns? This probably had a lot of gun aficionados asking, “What, the average gun owner only has three guns?”
Guns, you see, are heirlooms, works of art, and practical tools used for sport, self-defense and hunting. As works of art or tools—or both—guns have a specific purposes. Hunters will have a specific gun or guns for big game, for upland birds, for waterfowl and so on.
Those who are into the shooting sports will find their collection expanding as they mature and try new sports. Those looking for self-defense guns will try new carry guns and more as technology and design adds options. As for collectors, well, by definition they just can’t get enough. So it’s actually not all that helpful to compare the number of guns in private hands to the number of gun owners.