Trump Era Gun Checks Remain Near Record Levels through June 2018

Many people believed that President Trump would preside over an era of decreasing firearm sales…the so-called Trump Slump. Firearm sales dropped a little from their record levels in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, with gun owners anticipating a Hillary Clinton presidency.

But a funny thing happened to the Gunmageddon. Sales didn’t drop that much. 2017 had the second highest ever yearly total of NICS checks. And 2018 is trending higher. In 2017, at the end of June, the year-to-date total NICS checks were 12.6 million. 2018 is on its way to becoming the second highest year on record. In 2016, the all time record year, they were 13.8 at the end of June.

In 2018, they increased from 2017 and are approaching the 2016 level. The number of checks by the end of June, 13.3 million, is 96% of the all-time record.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has figured out how to adjust NICS checks for purchasing firearms from those used for other purposes.

The June 2018 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 892,479 is a decrease of 12.2 percent compared to the June 2017 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,016,213. For comparison, the unadjusted June 2018 FBI NICS figure 1,912,838 reflects a 1.3 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 1,888,266 in June 2017.

The second quarter 2018 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,863,240 reflects a decrease of 8.1 percent compared to the 3,116,282 figure for second quarter 2017.

The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF started subtracting permit rechecks in February 2016.

We won’t know precisely how many of the NICS background checks are due to new firearms purchases until a year and a half from now. The BATFE doesn’t release manufacturer figures for at least a year after they are submitted.

FBI NICS background checks are used to purchase both used and new firearms. They are used to obtain concealed carry permits. They are used to renew concealed carry permits.  They are being used, in some states, to check out gun store personnel or even teachers.

Historically, there are about .6 new firearms  added to the national private stock for each NICS check.

If the .6 relationship between checks and new gun sales holds, about eight million new firearms have been added to the private stock in the first six months of 2018. That raises the number of private firearms in the United States to about 426 million firearms.

If the classic annual buying pattern prevails, the total number of private firearms added will be over 15 million in 2018. That would bring the total of private firearms in the United States to about 432 million by the end of the year.


©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


  1. avatar Wondering Wanderer says:

    This is all fine and dandy, but I’d like to see the numbers on the top gun shops in America excluding Wal*Mart. Wonder where Bud’s, Grab-a-gat, Smoky Mountain, Gallery of (Ruger) Guns, and Ben at Classic Firearms rank in terms of volume. Are they sucking the lifeblood from your LGS?

    1. avatar Michael in AK says:

      I haven’t and won’t buy at Wal-Mart., I don’t like big box stores, two, they only carry Ruger handguns, three I try to support my local businesses.

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        What Wal-Mart are you talking about? 2/3 don’t sell any guns, and the 1/3 that do only sell long guns (that aren’t AR-15s). Those factors alone keep Wal-Mart from being a big player in the gun market, without their new 21+ policy and any blowback from it.

        1. avatar Michael in AK says:

          Alaska..they sell handguns at Wal-Mart

    2. avatar WW says:

      Put this with the Ruger & Smith news that sales are down and something doesn’t add up.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        probably has something to do with gun rights being threatened in so many places….

  2. avatar Paul McMichael says:

    Buy a firearm. It’s good for the U.S. economy, good for the firearms industry and causes the left to kick the dirt. It’s a win for everyone.

  3. avatar stateisevil says:

    Seeing as how more gun control has been passed in the Trump era than the whole of Obama, no wonder sales have been steady.

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      That’s not true. After sandy hook several already anti gun states past several more draconian firearms laws. Like AWBs, and “background checks”. In the Trump era, so far a couple of those liberal states like California have passed more draconian laws again. The only, but real, cause for concern is what Florida did after parkland. Luckily Florida managed to hold off an AWB, for now. I was certain they would break on that front, but luckily I was wrong. Federally, for now, nothing has changed, except for the death of any pro gun bills. Which you and everyone else does have a right to be enraged about. The GOP had two years to do throw us a bone, and failed miserably.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Yep. The Republican party sucks rocks.

        But since we’re stuck with a binary choice — a party that sucks and will do nothing versus one that hates our guts and has shown that it *will* act against us — the do-nothings are better than the do-somethings.

        Maybe we could play the anti-gun states into getting on board with repealing the 17th Amendment and restoring the balance of power between the states, the people, and the federal government. And as long as we’re repealing stupid and harmful amendments, let’s get rid of the 16th, too. Cut the federal leviathan back down to size.

        1. avatar Marty says:

          The 17th A? The Senate shall be composed of 2 Senators from each state? What am I missing?

        2. avatar JR Pollock says:

          The 17th amendment changed from Senators being selected/elected by the state legislatures, to them being elected by direct popular vote. It didn’t change anything else: length of term, staggered classes, etc.

          If the Senators were selected by the legislatures today, we’d have almost 70 Republican Senators.

  4. avatar GS650G says:

    I’ve a decent collection and I’m not sure what to buy next. Maybe I’ll sell some and splurge on a high end gun.

    1. avatar No one of consequence says:

      Start with a bigger safe…

  5. avatar Mike in NC says:

    “Historically, there are about .6 NICS checks for each new firearm added to the national private stock.”

    “If the .6 relationship between checks and new gun sales holds, about eight million new firearms have been added to the private stock in the first six months of 2018.”

    As written, this seems to be a bit of a math error. With 0.6 NICS per firearm would mean 21 million new firearms. If the relationship is 0.6 firearms per NICS, then it comes out to 7.5 million.

    1. 13.3 million NICS checks in the first six months of 2018.

      13.3 X .6 = 7.98 million new guns.

      1. avatar Mike in NC says:

        Units as written for (ratio * NICS): (NICS / firearm) * NICS = NICS^2 / firearm

        Whereas (NICS / ratio): NICS / (NICS / firearm) = firearm

        For multiplication to work the text should read “0.6 new firearms for each NICS check” … (firearm / NICS) * NICS = firearm

        I wish it was really 0.6 NICS per new firearm… which would mean 1.67 (1/0.6) new firearms per NICS check… that would be WINNING!

        1. Thanks for catching the reversed wording. Fixed it.

  6. avatar Marty says:

    The totals are much higher than what NICS submits. Utah doesn’t use NICS and from what I’ve read hear, there are other states also which don’t use NICS.

  7. avatar Leighton says:

    Women and minorities buying guns to defend against white NRA males?
    I have three on my to-buy list. Waiting for them to be released.
    Also Adding a 6.5CM and possibly a .338 Lapua. But ammo for Lapua is insanely expensive. LOL

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      “Women and minorities buying guns to defend against white NRA males?”


      The economy is *booming*, people have extra cash in their pockets, and consumer confidence is high, meaning, they are more apt to break out the credit card for a gun purchase.

      Hey, Bloving, do you notice more gun sales on credit cards?

  8. avatar Tom W. says:

    My humble opinion is that folks of the gun, overall, simply don’t trust the swamp suckers of the RINO’s in DC, or appeasing Governors like mine Skeletor, aka Rick Scott of Florida.

    We know the “usual suspects” of gun grabber lore in the political theater. And they are like playing Whack-A-Mole. One tragic event, and before the facts are even known, tout the same anti gun talking points.

    The new gun owners have also realized when seconds count, help is minutes away. Good for them.

    My name is Tom, and I’m a gunaholic. I just like adding to the family collection. 😉

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    Did my bit. Got another gun. The natives protested having right’s today and EVERYONE covered their BS. Nationwide protests FOR the SECOND and no one save FOX covered them…buy more guns, gift them and stock up.

  10. avatar New Continental Army says:

    Buying another gun soon. A !*gasp*! .308. Yep I said it. I’m buying a .308 and not a 6.5 creedmoor. And I’m gonna buy *another* .45 with the money I saved. Yep. A .45 too. Be triggered. Forbidden love is the best love.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      At least you ain’t buying a .9mm.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Or a Moist Nugget. 😀

        1. avatar jwm says:

          That must have hurt you to print. 😉

    2. avatar Ing says:


      Eh, I’m still shooting .30-30, so what do I know? 🙂

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        ING, my go-to brush rifle is my Winchester M94 in .30-30. Lately, I’ve been shooting 150 grain Federal Fusion and it’s been insanely accurate, way more than even Hornady LEVERevolution or Super X. Just thought I’d pass it on.

  11. avatar S.Crock says:

    Record sales are getting a bit boring. Yes, Americans are buying a lot of guns and we are winning culture wars with new demographics like women shooters. How about we start winning some gun rights battles! Constitutional carry and suppressors before Trump is out of office or bust.

  12. avatar Rocketman says:

    I think that the reason that gun sales haven’t gone down all that much is the left is still acting bat sh** crazy and the sane people think they need an AR-15 or three for the kids to use in case the left goes completely off the deep end.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      And the sane people are right.

      1. avatar Joseph says:

        They are indeed.

  13. avatar Geoff says:

    It’s running neck and neck or slightly above last year because the idiot Democrats keep advocating more gun control!
    They get the opposite effect, we buy MORE GUNS!

  14. avatar Gun Owning American says:

    Freedom tastes so sweet.

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