As the summaries of 2020 continue to be revealed, it’s for certain we can look back and say it was “one for the record books.”
That reminds me of a former colleague used to answer questions about his well-being with one simple word: “outstanding!” He never qualified it as “outstandingly good” or “outstandingly bad” because as he explained it, “it doesn’t encourage further inquiry.”
2020 was an outstanding year for gun sales. Yesterday, the NSSF released their “Adjusted” NICS background checks for December and 2020. One word popped into my mind: wow.
December 2020’s adjusted numbers rose 22.7 percent over 2019’s figures. That’s 1,906,916 NICS checks in December alone. But that’s considerably less eye-popping that the Q4 numbers, for October, November and December 2020 NICS numbers were up 40.6 percent- from 4,001,455 for Q4/2019 to Q4/2020’s 5,625,610.
The year-end total? 21,083,643..an increase of 59.7 percent over the 2019 total.
That, according to the NSSF’s Mark Oliva, shows “just how much value the American public puts on their God-given Second Amendment rights.” He also makes another very valid point when he points out the figures could have been higher, but were limited by inventory shortages.
According to Oliva, a Biden administration that signals it will seek to curtail gun rights will push 2021’s numbers “closer to what was seen in 2020 than in previous years.”
He’s probably right. Because the numbers tell the story better than any proffered narrative.
When governors, mayors, Congress or other elected officials try to limit citizens’ rights or institute new restrictions on law enforcement, citizens respond by taking steps to preserve their individual rights, beginning with the right to the means to protect themselves.
The estimated 8.4 million new gun owners across the country have clearly demonstrated their lack of confidence in either the legislators or their social reforms offering adequate protection. In lieu of confidence in public safety measures, they’re turning to more personal means of protection.
Yesterday marked a change in the federal protection status of the gray wolf. After 45 years of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, the gray has been delisted, meaning states can manage them as defined by state law. In South Dakota, for example, the gray wolf can now be managed under the state’s predator law.
That means trappers, sportsmen and women, landowners and livestock producers will have the ability to harvest gray wolves across the state under the same legal requirements as coyotes. Those include a predator/varmint license , furbearer license of any resident or nonresident hunting license. Landowners on their own land and youths under 16 are exempt from those requirements.
South Dakota, FYI, has had several wolves killed on “both sides of the Missouri River” but Game, Fish and Parks officials suspect they’re “transients” from populations east and west of the state. They do not, however, support gray wolf expansion into South Dakota, so they’re asking anyone harvesting a gray wolf to notify a wildlife conservation officer within 24 hours so they can inspect the animal and collect a DNA sample within 48 hours of harvest.
Wildlife management is a complex undertaking, without all the political factors. If there’s one positive note to the increases in purchases of guns and ammunition, it’s the fact that it’s very likely that 2020 will exceed the nearly $1 billion channeled to Pittman-Robertson funding in 2019. And as the continued coronavirus lockdowns continue, more people will be returning to the outdoors for their recreational and vacation needs.
We’ll keep you posted.
— Jim Shepherd