May 11, 2014
06:13 AMThe Connecticut Story
Tax Returns, Hunting Season Spur Connecticut Gun Sales; Bigger Trends
Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register
John Gray of East Haven, left, admires a competition Winchester 101 double-barreled shotgun Friday, May 9, 2014, shown by Mike Higgins, co-owner of TGS Outdoors gun shop in Branford.
Every March and April, Mike Higgins can count on more gun sales.
“It’s tax returns. Whoever didn’t get a Christmas present, (decides) ‘well now I’m getting a Christmas present for myself,’” said Higgins explaining his customers’ reasoning.
The owner of TGS Outdoors gun shop in Branford talked about what drives his business and the relationship with background checks as reported by the FBI through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
An examination of the checks, going back to their initiation in November 1998 as part of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, shows the numbers pretty consistently peaking and dropping throughout a calendar year, tied to hunting season, holidays and most recently, panic buying around the presidential elections and congressional bills.
There also is some increase in background checks, and therefore a boost in sales, in any state where a mass shooting has occurred over the past 16 years.
But the unifying surge in purchases across the country can be connected to the slaying of 20 first-graders and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, and the attempt by the U.S. Senate to mandate background checks at gun shows where dealers are not federally licensed and therefore out of the NICS loop.
The numbers show basically it’s a combination, on the one hand of consumerism, and on the other hand fear the government will take away weapons, that drive firearm sales, analysts say.
“It is clear that there are sharp peaks, especially after elections, and especially elections in which (President Barack) Obama prevailed,” said Alfred Blumstein, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.