Tag Archives: NICS

2017: Another Year Millions of Americans Bought Firearms

Good news: Looks like we all worried too much. Here’s the truth about guns sales last year… MORE

2017 gun sales

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

We, like many of our NRA members, watched the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) numbers all year. We read — and fact-checked — all of the claims about the “Trump Slump” and the imminent collapse of the entire firearms industry. Month after month, the narrative around the NICS data framed gun sales as waning because a new record wasn’t set. Bloomberg headlined its latest entry, “Gun Sales in America Drop.” The Chicago Tribune reported that “Holiday gun sales dip after record Black Friday.”

The FBI released the final NICS numbers for 2017. There were 25,235,215 total NICS checks in 2017 — making last year the second busiest year ever for the NICS office. Across all states, territories, and the District of Columbia, there were 7.2 million NICS checks related to handguns (not including private sales, rentals, returned, pre-pawn, or pawn redemption checks); 5.2 million for long guns; just under 400,000 for “other” firearms; and 236,167 checks for multiple purchases. More than 9.9 million Americans initiated a NICS check for a permit last year.

In terms of individual categories of NICS checks, 2017 ranks third for handgun-related NICS checks and second for “other” checks. In terms of total sales-related checks (handgun, long gun, other, and multiple), 2017 was the fourth-busiest year ever. It was also the second busiest year for permit checks.

Interest in defense and the shooting sports clearly remains strong; sure, NICS doesn’t provide a 1:1 proxy for gun sales but the FBI saw more than 13 million sales-related checks and almost 10 million permit checks. That equates to more than 27,000 permit checks and nearly 36,000 sales-related checks every single day of the year.

Hopefully, we can put the claims of “Trump Slump,” and of the demise of the firearms industry to rest along with the year 2017. The continued strong NICS numbers all year indicate that Americans’ interest in defending themselves and their families, and their interest in the shooting sports, is not dependent on the White House occupant. We fully expect the firearms industry to continue to support the passions shared by millions of law-abiding Americans throughout 2018.

Gun Purchases Continue to Set Records

Americans are continuing to acquire guns at an unprecedented level. In early June, the FBI reported that in June 2016, firearm-related background checks set a new record for any month of June, up 39% from the number of checks conducted in June 2015.

For the first six months of 2016, checks are up 32 percent over the same period in 2015. If the present rate of checks holds through December, there will be over 32 million checks conducted this year, more than double the number conducted during President Obama’s first year in office. There have been 26.5 million checks during the last 12 months, more than in any 12-month period previously.

NICS checks don’t precisely indicate the number of firearms acquired in a given time frame. But the trend in checks makes clear that Americans are acquiring firearms at a record pace. The annual number of checks has risen from 12.7 million during the last year of President George W. Bush’s administration to an average of 23 million during Obama’s second term.

Gun sales as reflected in NICS checks. Graphic courtesy of NRA.
Gun sales as reflected in NICS checks. Graphic courtesy of NRA.

2015 Breaks All-Time NICS Gun-Background-Check Record

Midsouth Shooters Supply has previously reported that Black Friday 2015 broke gun-sales records, and now totals for the year are in, and based on FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System background-check volume, moreTop Five NICS Firearm Background Checks Years guns were sold in 2015 than in any previous year in American history. More than 23 million checks were processed through NICS in 2015 — that’s 2 million more than the previous record of 21 million NICS checks in 2013.

The FBI NICS total for 2015 was 23,141,970. In December 2015 alone, the FBI conducted 3,314,594 checks, an increase of more than half a million over the previous single-month record set in December 2012.

Also, the months of May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December in 2015 each set monthly sales records.

It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.

Commenters on our blog have said that threats to gun rights by politicians and the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California drove gun and ammunition sales.

“A day has not gone by without a major media assault on gun rights or an Obama administration call for new additional restrictions on gun ownership,” said Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation to the Washington Free Beacon website. “Americans have voted with their dollars and bought record levels of guns and ammunition.”

Despite the record NICS numbers, 2015 may be only the second-best gun-sales year ever. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) publishes its own interpretation of raw NICS numbers. NSSF is the actual trade association for the firearms industry in this country, representation many people wrongly attribute to the NRA.

NSSF generates its own adjusted NICS data, which are derived by subtracting out NICS purpose-code permit checks used by several states such as Connecticut, Illinois, and Utah for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases.

Using NSSF’s adjustments, 2012 is still the all-time sales-record year, with 14.8 million checks, followed by 2015’s 14.2 million total.

On a monthly basis, the December 2015 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,235,560 is an increase of 37.6 percent compared to the December 2014 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,624,524.

For comparison, the unadjusted December 2015 FBI NICS figure of 3,308,199 reflects a 43.7 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,301,386 in December 2014.

If you helped set the record, will you tell us why? Great deals? Somebody had just what you were looking for? Might be your last chance to buy a gun in your state?

White House: High Gun Sales Are a ‘Tragedy’

The FBI conducted 185,345 firearms background checks on Black Friday, the most ever during a single day. Asked why he thinks so many Americans are buying guns, White House press secretary Josh Earnest replied, “I don’t know, I really don’t.”

The record number of gun sales came two weeks after the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks in Paris, but before the San Bernardino,California, terrorist massacre.

“In some cases these are individuals who believe that they need to buy a gun so that they can better protect themselves,” Earnest added. “In some cases because it’s Black Friday, they probably are going and purchasing a gift for a friend or a loved one who is a gun enthusiast. I’m just pointing out that there are already an astonishing number of guns on the streets of America and far too many innocent Americans who are being killed by them.”

“The more that we see this kind of violence on our streets, the more people go out and buy guns,” Earnest said. “That is both ironic and tragic.”

Perhaps our readers can help Mr. Earnest out by telling him why you or folks you know bought firearms recently. And, let him know if you agree that it’s “a tragedy” that record numbers of Americans bought guns in recent weeks.

Black Friday 2015 Breaks Sales Records

More Americans had their backgrounds checked purchasing guns on this most recent Black Friday than any other day on record, according to data recently released by the FBI. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, one of the largest retail-sales days in the country.

Stephen Fischer Jr., of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, wrote in a release, “This was an approximate 5% increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014. The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on 12/21/2012.”

Other Black Friday shopping days in 2014, 2013 and 2012 occupied the FBI’s “top 10” list of the most background checks processed in a 24-hour period.

Since 1998, FBI data shows that the bureau has processed requests for more than 222 million firearm purchases. The highest per annum total recorded in the 17-year span was in 2013, with just over 21 million requests.

We had some great shopping deals this year, in our humble opinion. We hope you found a great price on something you were looking for. Check back in a couple of weeks for other bargains and clearances.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, setting a single-day sales record.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, setting a single-day sales record.