Gun Background Checks more than Doubled Under Obama

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.

Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar me says:

    Hey, the ONE thing he did right!

    1. avatar Chadwick says:

      What!?! You don’t think he was a great speaker? umm, umm, ummm ahh, umm, fundamentally, umm, change. Hahaha

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        Obama actually is a great speaker, when reading from a prepared, rehearsed script. It’s when he tries to speak off the cuff that he gets tripped up.
        There can be a great number of reasons for this (most people, when faced with an audience of more than about 10 people, get tongue-tied).
        In Obama’s case, I think it’s because he was always meant to be a spokesperson for others; he certainly had no gravitas on his own when elected. But his speeches were wonderful to behold.
        Until he had to say something unrehearsed. Then he fell flat, because he simply didn’t have the experience with the subject being talked about, and his mouth outran his brain.

        1. avatar Red in CO says:

          Very good summary of his speaking ability

        2. avatar B says:

          I think the reason was he had to stop himself from saying what he really wanted to to the American people. Whenever he spoke off the cuff he invariably said something offensive to the middle class. He’s a landmine of hatred for christian whites. He wanted to call them unwashed masses, bitter clingers, racists, and deplorables for opposing his anti American globalist agenda. If he didn’t have to guard his true feelings he’d be much better at speaking. Its tough running a filter while impromptu speaking.

        3. avatar NorincoJay says:

          Barack Hussein Obama is a great orator when he is telling the truth or reading a script. Unfortunately most of his speeches were filled with half truths that he had to stumble around. The more pauses and ummms in his speech the more lies he told.

  2. avatar Geoff PR says:

    How many of those were new manufacture, instead of just changing hands?

    1. avatar Omer Baker says:

      I think most because even here in Illinois where we have a “background check” to buy any gun, you only need a NICS check for a purchase from an FFL which would probably be a new gun, but not necessarily I realize. While all private sales are “checked”, a simple call or online check of both parties’ FOIDs are all that’s legally required and these don’t directly go through NICS.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        More than a few are sold as used at gun stores, etc.

        How many additional guns are added to total US private owned stockpile since Obama was inaugurated?

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          This is easily tracked and both Dean and I do it each year using the domestic manufacturing and import numbers from the ATF Firearms Commerce in the United States Statistical Update and the United States International Trade Commission report. This tells us how many new guns are added to the existing quantity of guns in the US each year.

          It’s a lot!

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          2012 – 8.5 M

          2013 – 10.8 M

          Yup, lots!

          https://www.atf.gov/file/89561/download

        3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Actually you are off by quite a bit. You are forgetting the imported firearms.

          2012
          Domestic – 8,578,610
          Imports – 4,844,590
          Total – 13,423,200

          2013
          Domestic – 10,844,792
          Imports – 5,539,539
          Total – 16,384,311

          This does not include firearms for the military. Also there is a small amount of exports that I didn’t include in those numbers.

          We should have the 2017 report shortly which will give us the numbers from 2015 (the ATF always releases one year late, domestic manufacturers aren’t even responsible for reporting those numbers until April the following year, then the ATF publishes the first quarter of the following year, so they are always one year behind). We won’t know the full number of new firearms for Obama until the 2016 numbers are published in 2018.

        4. My best estimate is about 94 million. We won’t know for another year, as Danny Griffin has stated. The overall average correlation is about .6 new firearms added to the private stock for each NICS check.

          But that number changes around a bit. We are seeing a large increase in carry permits, and those generate at least one NICS check. Tennessee skews the whole assembly by doing a NICS check on each Tennessee carry permit holder *each month*! We will have the 2015 information from BATFE soon, and the 2016 data in about a year.

  3. avatar IdahoPete says:

    The Obma legacy – America’s greatest gun salesman. “Thanks, Obama!”

    1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      Barty helped to “mainstream” firearms ownership with a whole host of new people. And for that I say thank you.

      1. avatar NorincoJay says:

        The increase in female gun owners and carriers is truely a wonderful sight.

    2. avatar bLoving says:

      Any and all new customers was a good thing for me, working the “front lines” of the business as it were.
      But I’ll tell ya – the indiscriminate customers really got old real quick… yeah, those guys; “Do you have any ARs?! I’ll take three!!!” Yeah, I won’t miss them too much. Moving forward we can expect buyers to be much more selective in their choices, taking their time and doing their homework.
      Which is why I’ve predicted the impending demise or sell-off of many of the smaller companies that popped up like mushrooms in the past few years and started cranking out AR clones. The typical
      AR type rifle market is simply too saturated now for a small company to make money unless their AR clone is actually distinguishable from the ones made by the big boys.

  4. avatar Lt Dave says:

    The threat level to gun owners and future gun owners civil rights were going into the toilet under the previous administration. Many decisions were rushed due to the uncertainty of the future of firearms ownership.
    Now, there is the feeling that perhaps, the current administration will keep their promises.

    They have thus far.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    ALL or my guns were bought and background checked under Bury Soetoro. Speaking only for myself President Zero played played a pivotal role…so rhanks azzwhole?

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    ALL or my guns were bought and background checked under Bury Soetoro. Speaking only for myself President Zero played played a pivotal role…so thanks azzwhole?

  7. avatar Tim says:

    Sorry – half of that was *me*……

  8. avatar KMc says:

    A meaningless statistic, if you own a Gun Store. Located in Iowa, we RARELY do a NICS check.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “if you own a Gun Store. Located in Iowa, we RARELY do a NICS check.”

      Sooooo then, the ATF never bothers to occasionally drop in and visit licensed FFLs in Iowa?

      Y’all have a brass set far bigger than mine in Iowa… 🙂

      1. avatar 27 Words says:

        I assume he’s referring to the fact that if you have a carry permit in Iowa, you don’t go through a NICS check for purchases….you went through one for the permit already. So there are A LOT of purchases without checks.

        I’m sure there are other states that are the same way.

        1. avatar Joel says:

          Supposedly Texas is that way. If you have the LTC you still fill out some paperwork, but no NICS check.

        2. avatar Tim says:

          Cool. Didn’t know logic existed anywhere in government. I guess they keep it all in Iowa.

        3. avatar neiowa says:

          NOT. You go to the local Sheriff pay $5 and in a few days (cooling off) you get a little slip of paper good for one year.

        4. avatar Michael says:

          Arizona is the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if a third or more of all purchases skipped the NICS due to the CCW permit.

      2. avatar KMc says:

        We rarely have to because almost everyone of our customers has a permit to purchase or concealed carry.
        That is all.

  9. avatar Cc says:

    The question is: how many guns total are in the USA?. The number that is most quoted on top of my head is around 300 millions. But if you had 157 millions NCIS checks over the last 16 years only, the total number of guns has to be much much higher than 300 millions. I have heard something like a billion. Does anybody has any official (or non official) stats?

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      That 310 million number is really old. It’s about 400 million now. And that number could be way low, but it’s a reliable “low” estimate.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Is it true, Danny, that after about 25 years guns are considered non-functional or destroyed and are no longer counted?

        If true, the total number could be even higher…

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Not that I know of. There are several sources of the old estimates, the two biggest are from the Small Arms Survey and the Congressional Research Service. Both use different methodologies. For example, one used a number of criteria to come up with their number, including gun registration numbers, expert estimates, household surveys, proxy indicators such as GDP and gun suicides, and comparison with similar countries. But even they have admitted that there are no easy rules to rely on, and that “social science, with its emphasis on verifiable indexes, naturally leads to under-counting total civilian arsenals.” Each of the five criteria listed has problems, potentially huge problems. There is no mandatory gun registration in the United States. Their expert estimates have differed by as much as a factor of ten for some countries, even modern Western countries such as Switzerland. Household surveys tend to be less reliable the more sensitive the subject, of which gun ownership certainly is one. Some people will just not readily give out that information. We’ve just witnessed what happened in one state. Even under the threat of a felony charge, it is estimated that the compliance rate for gun registration in Connecticut is less than four percent.

          I wrote an article on this three years ago if you want to read it: http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/04/gun-ownership-by-the-numbers/

          Those numbers only go through 2012. Since then we’ve seen the official numbers for 2013 and 2014 released, and we’ll be getting the 2015 numbers any day now. I’ve updated the numbers yearly since then elsewhere, but that article is a good discussion on ownership. Dean has also written his own articles independently on the subject, using additional data, and his numbers mirror mine, but are just slightly higher if memory serves.

        2. As I recall they were very close. My estimate for the end of 2016 is 404 million firearms in the private stock.

      2. avatar Michael says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the number was over 500 million. I did a HS or community college report on gun control in the late 80s, the number was 300 million then.

        That is what is hilarious when states try to impose ammo control. If we can’t control 400 million plus guns, how do you hope to control 40 billion rounds of ammo assuming 100 rounds a gun.

  10. avatar Charlie says:

    I keep thinking: if the Ds would renounce any further restrictions on gun ownership and then shut up about it, and if the Rs would do the same for human sexuality… Then maybe this country could calm down and find innovative *new* ways to destroy civilization.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Obama wasn’t really a “gun salesman.” He simply woke us up as no President before him ever had. He reminded us that rights are ephemeral and can disappear with a phone call or the stroke of a pen.

    So we tooled up, because it was the only thing that we could do.

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