California gun sales dropped to their lowest point in five years during 2017 as potential buyers felt less anxiety about gun control measures.
About 870,000 guns were sold in California during 2017, down by 450,000, or 35 percent, from 2016, according to a Bee review of new FBI instant background check data. In 2016, gun buyers raced to buy rifles equipped with “bullet buttons.” Those rifles, which are easier to reload, were banned at the start of 2017.
Gun sales often rise when buyers anticipate new gun control measures following mass shootings.
Since the Sandy Hook school shootings in late 2012, dealers have sold about 5 million guns in California, or about one gun per eight California residents. During the same time frame a decade ago, California dealers sold 1.7 million guns.
Firearm-related death rates have decreased in California during the last decade as gun sales have risen, largely due to a decline in homicides. However, firearm-related suicide rates have risen, particularly in rural California areas with high gun sales.