We don’t know precisely how many private guns were added the stock in the United States under President George W. Bush compared to those added under President Barack Obama. We won’t know the precise number until a year from now, when the BATFE releases the information. But we have a pretty good proxy for that statistic. The number of National Instant Background Check System NICS checks is highly correlated to the number of private guns sold.
The numbers found in an article comparing the number of NICS checks under Bush to those under Obama were surprising. From mrctv.org:
According to data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, widely considered to be the best metric in measuring firearms purchases in the United States, gun sales soared 60 percent under Obama’s eight year stint in office compared to the number of firearms sold during President George W. Bush’s two-term presidency.
I couldn’t find a way to torture the data to come up with the 60% figure that was quoted by mrctv. My results were actually much more dramatic. If you consider the years 2001-2008 as the years of the Bush administration, there were 77,410,008 background checks under the National Instant Check System. For a clean comparison, I chose 2001-2008 for Bush, and 2009-2016 for Obama. Total NICS checks from 2009 through 2016 were 157,233,157. That is means a 103% increase during the Obama years.
I can see how that error in the article was made. You have to include all the background checks made before President Bush was in office in his totals. Include all the numbers from 1998-2008, instead of his actual 8 years in office, 2001-2008. With with an extra two years and two months added to Bush’s figures, you can say that the numbers of NICS under President Obama only increased 60%.
In the real world, though, the number of NICS checks under President Obama more than doubled those under President Bush. It’s quite an achievement, one that President Obama can be proud of. But he probably won’t be.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.