Nick Leghorn (courtesy
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Perceived wisdom has held that firearms sales fell drastically after President Trump was elected. But the so-called “Trump slump” hasn’t happened. Yes, increased production has driven down prices. But sales remain strong. While President Obama may have been the greatest firearms salesman of all time, President Trump’s first year is likely to beat all of President Obama’s eight years in office, except for the last one.

Trump-era NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) checks are continuing the trend set last year. 2017 is on track to be the second highest year for NICS  on record.

2016 is the current record holder, with 27,538,673 NICS checks for the year. The next highest year was in 2015, with 23,141,970.  2,030,391 NICS checks were done in October, 2017. Through the end of October, the NICS checks for 2017 have reached 20,266,289.

November and December have traditionally been the highest months for NICS checks, correlating with hunting seasons and Christmas. 2017 only needs to accumulate 2,875,681 NICS checks in the last two months of the year to become the second highest year on record. Every year since 2010 has exceeded that number for November and December.

2017 NICS checks (courtesy

It is more likely that the totals for November and December in will be over four million checks. They have been over four million for four of the last five years. Four million more NICS checks would be over 24 million checks for the year.

2017 NICS checks have been at 91% of the level of the all time record in 2016.

NICS checks are used for both new and used firearms sales. They are used for other purposes as well. Firearms carry permits are rapidly expanding across the United States, with over 16 million carry permits currently in use. NICS checks are used for both initial issue of a permit and for the renewal of permits. Some NICS checks are used for background checks for employment.

Because of the expanding use of NICS checks, the number of firearms added to private stock in the United States is a fraction of the NICS checks. Past calculations based on ATF records indicate that about .56 firearms are added to the private stock in the United States for each NICS check done by the FBI.

If that ratio holds, about 1.1 million firearms will have been added to the private stock in October, or about 11.3 million firearms added in 2017 so far.

Americans continue to fill their safes with guns (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

It appears the demand for firearms has grown and the number of firearms owners has grown. Polls are a poor way to determine firearms ownership. Many people are reluctant to admit to firearms ownership when there is serious talk of restricting the ability to own or buy firearms.

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal survey shows gun ownership jumping from 41 to 48 percent of households. That increase includes a component of gun owners who are willing to admit ownership during a Trump administration. It also indicates an increase in the base level of firearm ownership.  Once a new owner buys a gun, they are likely to buy more guns, with different guns for different purposes.

In two months we will know if 2017 becomes the second highest year on record for NICS checks. We do not know at present, but that is the way to bet.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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  1. I did my patriotic bit and bought ( or should I say I was authorized by my wife) to buy CZ Scorpion Evo 9 mm for Father’s Day
    That was a great gift!
    Now I am in the process of making it a 2 stamp NFA gun with a folding stock and Osprey silencer
    Short barreled rifles and silencers are very popular this year

    • You’ll love the Osprey. Great suppressor.

      Personally I went with one in .45 for one of my pistols but I love the fact that you can swap pistons to .40 and 9mm as well and still get decent suppression. As good as dedicated cans? No, but you also don’t need two more stamps and you don’t need to pay for two more cans either.

      • Yes, on the OSPREY. However, it’s just more evidence of ATF&E hypocrisy and ATF rules schizophrenia. But people bitch about how bump-stocks blur some line somewhere.

  2. I’ll be buying another rifle soon. So many great choices!

    Regarding the recent Boston newspaper article, 11.3 millions guns have found homes since Trump took office. That’s almost 4 times the number of guns that were in Australia when they tried their hand at confiscation, which only netted 1/3 of the guns anyway. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but good luck with your confiscation fantasies, anti-gunners!

  3. Hmm. I kind of wonder do we have any data on guns that are going out of circulation? Not just the ones that are destroyed by the police, but just guns that have aged and scraped for parts, or just destroyed by malfunction. Probably not, because that would be a lot of records and it’s a lot of data that no one really wants to volunteer.

    • Y’know, that would be an interesting but probably impossible question to ask.
      Just the other night I mounted and bore sighted two rifles for a fella who – based on their condition – will be sending them to the scrap heap in a few more seasons if he doesn’t start taking better care of them.
      Given proper care, a firearm could remain “in circulation” for generations. But let’s face it, some folks just treat their guns like crap and those are the ones we’re curious about. 🤠

      • Oh, exactly. It’s pretty sad how many people abuse their firearms. Made the mistake of loaning my first SKS to a friend’s father for a hunting season and it came back all messed up. Scope beat up, spotty rust all over it, an a deep scratch in the stock. Which was also the last time I loaded anyone a gun that wasn’t a family member. :p

        And more than that I personally throw another wrench in trying to figure this out because I have always enjoys the act of buying broken and incomplete firearms and putting them back in working order. Everything from old 1950s era Mossy bolt action shotguns with a bad stock, a half complete Argentinian Hi-power rebuilt with Canadian milsup parts, to Century Arms CETME… which I actually made work reliable with a lot custom gunsmith and fresh parts. :p

  4. . I had a twenty two single shot rifle once. When I heard guns kill people I immediately got rid of it, I was concerned some night while sleeping it would slit my throat

  5. I’m glad they adjusted for used gun buys and background checks for employment. Since the election, I’ve probably bought five guns and sold five, so it’s a wash.

    • I’d like to see comparison numbers regarding overall manufacturing / production increase within the last say ~ 3 years. I bet it’s way up. From the Mom & Pops to the intermediates, to the accessory manufacturers, etc.

      And Trump is what he is.

      The evil POS (D) and the broke d1<k 'Establishment' (R)s suck and can go to hell.

    • “Jim” is full of it. There is ZERO correlation between anything happening on Wall Street and ANY reality. It’s all estrogen and flimflam.

      As the piece above discusses, sales might be down some in # and more in $ from 2016 by no means have sales cratered.

    • I’ve definitely been doing more than my part and will continue to do so. I’m going to need a bigger house soon though. 😀

  6. I’m doing my best to add to the #’s. 3 guns since Trump and another before year end. None lost in a tragic aquatic adventure😆😎😜

  7. “Past calculations based on ATF records indicate that about .56 firearms are added to the private stock in the United States for each NICS check done by the FBI.”

    Nonsense – for each check where there is a purchase of 3 guns (cooomn). There are 5 more checks where NO gun is actually purchased. I throw the BS card on that fauxstat.

    • The FBI runs NICS.

      The ATF keeps track of firearm manufacture, import, and export.

      The ATF runs a year behind the FBI numbers. It is pretty easy to take a year, such as 2014, and compare the NICS checks to the total firearms manufactured + imports – export.

      Lots of NICS checks are for used firearms. They do not increase or decrease the number of firearms in the private stock.

  8. Picked up a Creed and an RP9 today….have a Chiappa 60DS on order…a few more on the list.
    Prices are good…$100 rebate on the RP9.
    Lots of ammo out there at good prices.
    Mags are cheap…mostly. Except for the German guns, usually.
    Wish suppressors were not NFA…oh the hassles…and the waiting…even for LEOs.
    Oh…and now the minorities and libs are arming to defend against the alt-right…LMAO
    The gun companies are loving it.

  9. I lay the blame squarely on CDNN and their danged discounts. Just bought a replacement LCR for the wife at $199 delivered. And my number is probably on speed-dial at my local FFL already. And those NICS checks don’t take into account my recent binge on 9mm AR pistol builds. I’ve more than done my share.

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