Handgun photo

The handgun display case at J&B Outdoors has been thinned out in recent months due to the demand overreaching the supply. Usually the store has up to 100 handguns in store, the current count sits at around 20.

Firearms sales in an election year usually spike, but 2020 has been noticeably different.

This year is set to be the largest sale of guns to Americans on record, according to the FBI, but there also has been a huge influx of first-time gun owners. That impact has been seen here in St. Joseph.

“There is a steep rise in first-time buyers,” said Jeff Leonard, owner of J & B Outdoors. “We still get them coming in regularly. There is just a lot of unrest out there. People are concerned and you can see that in the firearm trend.”

Gun sales saw an initial spike back in March due to the shock of the coronavirus and once again in July with mass protests, rioting and looting. To top all that off, 2020 is an election year and sales typically run higher than in non-election years.

According to the FBI, in 2012 there were 19,592,303 National Instant Criminal Background checks (NICS) done pertaining to firearms. In 2011, there were only about 16 million checks done. Comparatively, in 2016 there were 27,538,673 NICS Firearm Checks conducted after 2015’s 23 million.

In 2020 through September alone, there have been 28,826,449 NICS Firearm Checks. That is the highest number on record.

“We came off from an all-time high in firearm sales in the country,” Leonard said. “At the same time we saw a big rise. Now we are kind of on a curve. The demand is still there and the supply is not there. We are seeing issues with getting inventory.”

According to sales from the store, the initial surge was for home-defense shotguns but now it has shifted to home-defense firearms. Leonard said they usually have about 80 to 100 handguns in stock but now they are down to only having about 20 in the store at a time.

“We get a few (handguns) that trickle in here and there and they usually don’t last but a day or two,” Leonard said.

For now, J & B Outdoors has been prepping for hunting season even with the difficulty of getting long-rifle firearms in stock.

Zach Fisher can be reached at zach.fisher@newspressnow.com

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowFisher