Roughly 1.2 million guns were sold this October, a 10.8 percent increase from Oct. 2018, according to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (pdf). The firm also estimated that about 1.1 million guns were sold in September, another increase of almost 11 percent from the same month last year.
The arms industry observer said it expects sales across 2019 to reach 14 million, past the 13.8 million guns sold in 2018 but below the estimates of 14.7 million sold in 2017 and 16.6 million sold in 2016.
"Sales have definitely been brisk, especially of small concealable handguns. We also saw a spike in sales of tactical rifles like AR-15s and AK-47s, for which I think we can confidently thank Beto O'Rourke," Justin Anderson, marketing director for the North Carolina-based Hyatt Guns, told the Washington Examiner.
O'Rourke, a former U.S. representative from Texas, shouted on the debate stage over the summer "hell yes" when asked if he'd seize guns if elected president. O'Rourke later dropped out of the race, but other candidates have said they'd focus on gun control, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who has proposed banning 9-mm handguns, a popular handgun that's used by numerous law enforcement agencies.
"It seems to me that Biden is preying upon the ignorance of his base by making such a ludicrous suggestion. Black Friday looks to be a huge day for the gun industry, building on what is already a record year for sales. In addition, with so much competition in the marketplace, retail pricing is as low as I've seen in over a decade. My message to consumers thinking about buying a gun: Pull the trigger!" Anderson told the Examiner.