The NICS checks for April, 2017 were 2,045,564. That’s the second highest number of NICS checks for any April. The highest was in 2016, with 2,145,865. The third highest April was in 2014, with 1,742,946. Both of those were driven by fear of strong gun control measures that might be passed by President Obama.

The Trump era of the National Instant Criminal Background  Check System  (NICS) checks has finished its first four months.

It was anticipated that firearm sales and NICS checks would drop with a Trump presidency. It has not happened as expected. NICS checks remain unexpectedly strong under President Trump.

January 2017 NICS were 80% of January 2016 NICS.  February 2017 NICS were 85% of 2016 numbers. March of 2017 is very close to previous records. It is over 96% of the record set in 2016, and just short of 98% of March, 2014. April, 2017 checks are over 95% of those for 2016, and are more than 17% higher than the next highest April, in 2014.

The unwillingness to accept a Trump Presidency by the left, combined with fear that a Trump Presidency could be overthrown by a media coup, could be a motivation for higher firearm sales. The fear of violence from the Left, as shown in Berkley, Portland, the District of Columbia, and San Francisco.

Structural increases in the number of firearms owners may have increased the base level of sales.

At the same time, there’s been a gradual increase in the use of NICS for things other than firearm sales, for suppressors/silencer sales, gun carry permits and checks on school teachers. There are indications that the actual number of firearm sales have exceeded those of April, 2016.

Kentucky has contributed to the number by running NICS checks on every concealed carry permit holder every month. Kentucky performs nearly three million checks every year.

The average ratio, over 15 years, is a little less than .6 NICS checks for each firearm added to the private stock.

If that ratio holds true, over five million guns were added to the private stock in the first four months of 2017.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has attempted to adjust for this by eliminating checks done for carry permits from the overall NICS checks. According to their calculations, the highest level of firearm sales in March occurred in 2013, with 2017 being the next highest.

It is clear that the expected drop in firearms sales has been minimal. Firearm sales may actually have risen compared to 2016.


©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

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17 Responses to NICS Background Checks Rebounding in the Trump Era

  1. I had some similar thoughts to Mr. Weingarten.

    I can picture a fair number of Progressives, expecting governmental tyranny somehow attributed to Trump, going out to purchase firearms. And I can picture meek, mild-mannered people of all political persuasions, seeing violent turmoil à la Berkeley, going out to purchase firearms as a hedge.

    I also regret to say that I can picture a number of Progressives going out to purchase firearms so that they can usher in Utopia by force of arms.

  2. It’s the left freaking out over a dictatorial Trump. Trump and the tangential media hyperbole will put more guns in the hands of the left than Stalin and compulsory service ever could.

    • I doubt it.
      A few libs will buy a gun and a box of ammo. They won’t practice enough to get proficient. They’ll find all the gun ranges full of conservatives that give them bad vibes. They’ll realize that practice ammo and range time cost money and it cuts into their Whole Foods grocery budget. Those guns will rust away in a drawer or get dumped back onto the used market eventually.

  3. If Sept-Oct-Nov-Dec were ALL increases from the previous month, when was the much ballyhooed “Post Election Trump Slump”???

    We were talking about the so-called slump before January started, IIRC.

  4. Whatever the reasons for the “Trump slump” I don’t see it here. I already see various shades and varieties of humans buying guns. As per usual in Cook County/NW Indiana…although certain gun sellers may face a backlash after their complicity with the enemy is revealed😡

    • I like hearing this good news that gun sales are chugging right along – it will put the lie to Springfield and Rock’s claim in a few months that their dismal second-quarter performance will be due to the trump slump.
      Calling it right now: they will try to spin it that way – all while everyone else is doing just fine.

  5. Consider that NICS checks do not always indicate that a firearm has been sold by a dealer. They could be denials, a check could be run in states that require them for private party sales, etc… I can state that our business has seen a drop in firearm sales since after Christmas. I have wholesalers calling daily with rock bottom price offers, and a lot of the industry contacts we have are telling us their sales are down. I have a hard time equating these “record numbers” with our sales. Of course maybe our numbers are only a reflection of our tiny slice of the market, but everything I am hearing and seeing indicates sales are down. I never had sales reps offering (begging) me some of the deals we have been getting lately.

    • +1
      Saw the same thing in my shop. January was absolutely awful, but the following months picked up and have been better than last year. But we’re still recovering from January.

  6. Well, maybe Trump is getting liberals to buy guns. Liberal or conservative, in the current environment, you’d be stupid to not have a weapon in your possession, and also, lots of us bought things on sales. It’s been a good year so far.

    • You certainly would be stupid to go unarmed, but barring some ideological conversion, I would prefer my enemies to remain stupid in that manner.

  7. Lots of the volume in sales right now is because of the fire-sale prices being offered to get rid of excess inventory. There were warehouses of guns waiting for a post-election Clinton victory panic, and it never materialized, so they have to move all of that stock now without the help of Hillary Clinton (who, as gun-salesman-in-chief would have made Obama look like an amateur). Just selling a lot of guns doesn’t mean the market isn’t weak. If those guns are all selling for just a few bucks over cost, it’s bad news. Ask any local gun shop owner, I’ll bet his distributors are offering him some crazy deals right now.

    Wait until this glut of oversupply works its way out of the pipeline, and prices recover as supply and demand equalize, and the NICS checks numbers are going to drop noticeably (barring any unforeseen political surprises).

    • Firearms ownership is going up. You have a huge increase in the number of households with guns because 30 years ago about 1/3 of American said it made a home safer from crime, and now about 2/3 of Americans say having a gun makes your home safer.

      Less people than ever are telling pollsters they own a gun. Why? because 50, 40 etc years ago it was not mostly for home defense, and/or it was not vilified. Nowadays people tend to take safety courses as well and one of the top five mantras is never to tell a stranger you have a gun at home. so when the GSS person comes to your house and while recording on a form with your address on it asks if you have a gun at home, you say “no” even if you do. gun ownership by household is increasing and has been for two decades, it is just that less people will tell some stranger at the door or calling on the phone.

      • I agree with everything you said, and none of it contradicts my point. Yes, there are a lot of new folks today who are gun owners that weren’t ten years ago. But S&W are blowing out Shields for $200 (after rebate), and quality name-brand ARs can be had for $450. Those are undeniable signs of a soft market. If you have to give people discounts and incentives (like the $150 in extra mags and gear that Springfield was offering even before last week’s fiasco) to buy your product, you might sell more than you otherwise would, but your profits are going to take it in the shorts.

        Once prices return to “normal” (whatever that is now), and the market isn’t being tweaked by panic buying or excess supply, I expect those NICS check numbers come off their recent historic highs by quite a bit, even with all the new gun owners out there.

    • Wrong. A huge amount of US law is made by court decisions and by regulatory law by an administration.

      There were lots of total gun bans in the Us until Heller. For practical legal purposes the law than allows you to own a gun at home in DC was made by the courts.

      Obozo’s administration promulgated lots of regulatory law affecting firearms. Like for example making it federal felony perjury not to admit on the 4473 background check if you smoked a joint 30 years ago

  8. It’s a Buyers Market right now, but we have held steady @ our Store. We are getting cold calls from Distributors and Manufacture Reps that we never had gotten before. I think almost all of the manufactures have enough inventory to continue offering sweet deals through Summer. Anyone think otherwise?

  9. I did my part this month! Gun stores near me are still filled with customers and ammo seems to be moving along decently. I went for more 6.5 Grendel ammo and they only had 1 box left at my LGS. They had 20 boxes the week earlier.

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