SOUTH BEND — The boom of gun sales and permit applications caused by the craze of the 2016 election is settling, but it’s not sending the industry into the dark days some predicted for the era of a Donald Trump presidency.
Last year saw record numbers of background checks and licenses being issued, but as Trump took office, those numbers started to fall, making people fear the industry was taking a turn for the worse. The firearm industry has continued to fluctuate this year, but local gun store owners and others in the industry say there’s nothing to worry about.
The FBI reported it conducted about 27.5 million background checks for firearms in 2016, an almost 20 percent increase from 2015’s total. Indiana saw about a 40 percent increase from 2015 up to 1.4 million last year, according to the FBI’s numbers.
FBI background checks don’t necessarily reflect a gun purchase and not all checks are passed, but the data is widely seen as one of the best measures for the industry. The Indiana State Police also track the number of gun licenses that are issued or declined in the state, another reflection of the industry.
There were 131,783 new gun licenses issued in Indiana in 2016, an almost 70 percent increase over 2015. St. Joseph County had a 58 percent increase in licenses issued ending 2016 with 3,609, according to state police numbers. Elkhart County saw an even bigger increase at 84 percent.