Gun Imports Sank in January-April, Even Before Covid-19 Crisis

See our interactive charts based on data this week from StatCan.

06 June 2020

2 min read

Gun Imports Sank in January-April, Even Before Covid-19 Crisis

TheGunBlog.ca — Canadian gun imports sank in January-April even before the Covid-19 crisis hit.

Shipments plunged to the weakest April in eight years, followed May 1 by a government attack on the firearm industry.

Data Table (CAD Million)

Firearm Type% ChangeJan-Apr 2019Jan-Apr 2020
Rifles+0.3%$24.4$24.5
Shotguns-22%$12.9$9.99
Handguns-22%$16.5$12.8
Muzzle Loaders-49%$0.4$0.2
Total-12%$54.2$47.5

Source: Statistics Canada, Import Data, 04 June 2020

See interactive charts below. Monthly charts are at the bottom.

Why It Matters

  • The import decline from December through February suggests gun shops expected demand to drop this year, since they typically place orders six months before the guns arrive.
  • Imports are the only public indicator of the health of the firearm industry. Almost every new firearm bought in Canada comes from abroad.
  • Stores order more when they expect sales to rise, and import less when they expect business to decrease.

Covid-19 Surge

Concern of social unrest and supply shortages from Covid-19 led to an unprecedented surge in sales in March and April, just as deliveries slowed.

More Declines Ahead

Imports will almost certainly plunge further after the governing Liberal Party’s May 1 order for immediate gun prohibitions.

Some store owners have said they expect the surprise attack to wipe out 30% to 40% of their business.

Key Numbers

Imports for a single month can show wide swings.

Guns

  • April 2020 vs. April 2019: -43% to $10.6 million, the slowest April since 2012.
  • The number of firearms that entered Canada rose 4.2% to 117,062 in January to April.

Ammo

  • Rifle and Handgun: -9.4% to $37.3 million in January-April. April 2020 vs. 2019: -28% to $11.2 million.
  • Shotgun: -19% to $5.6 million in January-April. April 2020 vs. 2019: -14% to $1.95 million.

Handgun Price Dive — Turkey

  • The average import price of handguns has dived 24% over the past 12 months to $501 from $663, dragged down by shipments of lower-priced pistols from Turkey.
  • Handgun imports from Turkey surged by more than 10 times from 2015 to 2019.
  • Note: (1) Retail price is typically 25% higher than import price. (2) This doesn’t say anything about profit margins.

Interactive Charts

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