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Boom: Record 27 million guns bought in 2016

By PAUL BEDARD (@SECRETSBEDARD) • 1/4/17 10:15 AM

Driven by terror threats and a potential Hillary Clinton administration, sales of guns in America soared to record levels in 2016, according to the FBI.

Just released FBI background check numbers, which roughly equate gun sales, totaled some 27,538,673, 4 million more than in 2015 and nearly double the number in President Obama's first year.

The numbers do not include many guns sold to or given to friends and family.

Sales hit record levels for some 19 months in a row as the number of terrorist attacks around the world and here at home increased, driving purchases by those seeking protection. The increase paralleled increases in those seeking a license to carry a concealed weapon.

The administration's constant, but failed, efforts to impose gun control, and threats by Clinton to double down on those efforts, also pushed gun sales to record highs.

In fact, Obama was often called the "salesman in chief" for the gun industry.

Since the election, however, sales have slipped as fears about gun bans and ammo taxes and registration died with Clinton's busted bid. December, for example, was the first month where sales did not match the previous December's, when background checks reached 3.3 million.

Justin Anderson, marketing director for one of the nation's biggest gun sellers, Hyatt Gun Store of Charlotte, N.C., told Secrets, "We are pleased to see more and more Americans taking responsibility for their own personal safety. Not only are they buying guns at a record pace, but they are also getting trained and preparing themselves"

He added that sales are expected to continue to be brisk as more Americans take self-defense seriously.

"While the election gave us some growth this year, we think the primary driver right now is that people are realizing just how vulnerable they are. They are learning the old adage: 'When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.' We expect this record pace to continue. In the past, we have seen bubbles based on political forces: Presidential elections, mass shootings, etc. All of those bubbles burst and we were left with a long period of slow sales. The current market is more slow and steady and it is still trending up, so we expect great things in 2017."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com