The gun business is surging, evidenced by the more than 55,000 industry types at the National Shooting Sports Foundation trade show in Las Vegas this week, the Las Vegas Sun reports. The robust firearms economy is showing striking defiance of the recession, as well as the condemnations of gun violence after the shooting of 19 people, including a congresswoman, in Tucson. Many attendees of the show said the apparently mentally ill Tucson shooter would have found a different weapon if he didn't have a Glock. They said that with 280 million guns in the U.S. nearly one for every person, it's not clear how effective gun-control measures can be.
The Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show shows the latest in shooting products. “It's like waking up on Christmas everywhere you turn,” says John Brand of Logan's Gun Shop in Oklahoma. The big, enthusiastic crowd would appear to be emblematic of the wider gun market: In 2009, the FBI and states processed 14 million requests through the instant background check system, up from 12.7 million in 2008. In Nevada, the number of firearm background checks increased from 60,000 in 2007 to 94,000 in 2009, an increase of more than 50 percent. The figure dipped, although not much, in 2010. Gary Giudice, a spokesman for Smith & Wesson, says guns have been a growth industry for years as more Americans experience the fun and challenge of hunting and target shooting or decide they want to arm themselves for protection.