California Rifle Sales Slump by Over 50%

    Figures released last week show that annual long gun sales in California have fallen dramatically. Reports suggest that California’s firearms dealers submitted 54% fewer FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System applications when compared to figures from July 2016.

    Dealers submitted 21,721 applications this July compared to a huge 48,000 processed back in July 2016. While on the surface this seems like a victory for Governor Jerry Brown’s SB 880 gun control legislation, drafted in response to the December 2015, San Bernardino mass shooting, that saw the introduction of harsher gun control measures. This included a ban on new rifles with California’s infamous bullet buttons as well as ‘assault weapon’ features like pistol grips and removable magazines.

    While this initially seems like a victory for Governor Brown it must be remembered that the announcement of the legislation kick started a massive spike in sales. This massive spike lead to California topping the list of rifle background checks for several months. California gun owners with bullet button rifles have until July 2018 to register their weapons.

    In the meantime a number of companies including Towle Inc and Mean Arms have introduced work-around systems to mitigate the limits of the ban. These include stripper clip systems like the MA Loader.

    The news of slowing rifle sales in California comes as gun owners in the state won a small but important victory. The victory saw the wording of a bill that would have extended California’s one gun a month purchase limits on handguns to the purchase of rifles changed. The anti-gun lobby sought to use, SB 497 – a bill that originally dealt with law enforcement officers storing guns in unattended vehicles, to limit rifle purchases. However, the bill was significantly amended at the Committee stage to remove language that would have extended the limits.

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]