The NICS checks for January, 2017 were 2,043,184. That’s the third highest number of NICS checks for any January (the highest was in 2016, with 2,545,802). Number two was back in 2013 with 2,495,440. Both of those were driven by fear of strong gun control measures under consideration by President Obama.
We’re in the start of a new era of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). There have only been four presidents that have had NICS checks done while they were in office.
They began with President Clinton, under whose administration the NICS system was initiated and evolved. Court cases and challenges both limited and defined the process. NICS checks totaled 18,574,000 during the Clinton years.
Background checks were done for all eight years of the two Bush 43 terms, totaling 77 million checks. Under eight years of President Obama, a total of 157 million checks were completed.
It’s been widely anticipated that given reduced perceived threats to Second Amendment rights, NICS checks, and concurrently firearm sales, would drop under a Trump presidency. The urgency of purchases in anticipation of significant infringements on firearms ownership by a President Hillary Clinton, and of a RKBA-hostile Supreme Court, are now gone.
There is unexpectedly intense angst over a Trump Presidency among Democrats. The conspiracy theories from rounding up gays, transgenders, muslims, and perhaps a nuclear holocaust have been floated. How much these anxieties will contribute to demand for firearms is uncertain. But January, 2017 NICS are only 80% of those done the previous year. That’s a substantial decrease.
As the use of NICS system has increased, there has been a gradual decline in the number of NICS checks that correlate to an increase in the private firearm stock. NICS checks are done for used guns much of the time, but those sales don’t increase the private stock of firearms. The same can be said for NICS checks done for carry permits. There are also substantial numbers of gun mufflers/silencers/suppressors being purchased. These add hundreds of thousands of NICS checks each year without any more guns in private hands.
We’ll have to wait for the BATFE figures to be published for 2015, before we see what the ratio is for that year, but the average for the previous 15 years is very close to .6 guns added to the private stock for each completed NICS check. If that ratio still holds true, it means that about 1.2 million guns were added to the private ownership total in January.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.