August 2020 NICS background checks
Courtesy NSSF
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Surprise! Americans still want every single firearm that gun makers can possibly turn out. But if you’ve been anywhere near a gun retailer in the last few months, you probably knew that already.

The FBI published their NICS background check total for August yesterday. Now the NSSF has massaged the data to get at their monthly adjusted total which is a better reflection of the background checks that represent actual gun sales (without checks done for permits, etc.)

The tale of the tape is this: August adjusted background checks totaled 1,684,083, an increase of 51.2 percent over the August 2019.

As the NSSF’s Mark Oliva told us,

August’s adjusted NICS figures of nearly 1.7 million background checks associated with the sale of a firearm are in line with the months-long trend we’ve witnessed since March, when figures topped an all-time one-month record of 2.3 million. Each month since April, adjusted NICS figures averaged between 1.6 and 1.8 million.

August’s figures are a record-high for the month over all previous years and show us that concerns for personal safety and self-defense continue to remain a priority for law-abiding Americans.

The sustained pace of firearm sales proves that law-abiding Americans are turning out by the millions to exercise their God-given right to keep and bear arms. News reports of violent attacks, riots, looting are coupled with calls to defund police continue. NSSF estimates that nearly 5 million of these firearm purchases were made by people who never previously owned a firearm.

Americans are witnessing gun control politicians refuse to enforce penalties on violent criminals while at the same time actively working to deny those who obey the law the ability protect themselves. These sales figures are proof that Americans refuse to be compliant victims to violent criminals who prey on the most vulnerable of our society.

August 2020 NICS background checks
Courtesy NSSF

Oh, and as always, the NSSF’s adjusted number above doesn’t reflect all retail gun sales. Here’s the NSSF’s standard caveat to the monthly adjusted NICS numbers:

Please note: Twenty-five states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers.

Michigan had law changes that affected their Brady Law standing which removed qualifying alternate permits usage for firearm transactions. These changes went into effect March 3, 2020.NSSF-adjusted NICS for the state of Michigan in August 2020 were 219.5 percent higher than August 2019 which accounts for an additional 43,237 checks over the same time period.



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  1. I wonder if the number of background checks was reduced due to a lack of inventory at gun shops due to previous months of record sales.

    • No question. If gun stores had anything approaching full inventories, the sales figures would be significantly higher. I talked to a large midwestern retailer last week. He had a shipment of 40 GLOCKs come in and they were gone in two hours. All had already been spoken for.

      The demand far outstrips the ability of manufacturers to produce guns.

      • Two of my relatives here in CA recently purchased their first guns several weeks ago. Of the four brick-and-mortar LGS within short driving distance, two were completely out (one said his waiting list was literally 600 people long), another was completely out of handguns, and the last had only two handguns available. One of those guns was a bit exotic, but considering the situation today they didn’t have much choice (the consequences of being a day late and a dollar short during a panic), so my relatives took them.

        They want to buy at least one more, plus much more ammo, but they simply aren’t available. Supports what was posited above by MarkPA.

        • I haven’t actively been looking. I have all I can use. In fact I’ve given some away since this started. CA DOJ is really dragging its feet on that paperwork. But when I have gone into a gun store in my area the only guns they have are hunting guns. And the ammo situation is really bad.

          I was at a family gathering this weekend and my son was saying how he’d like to buy a new Glock. His wife just laughed and told him good luck with that. She watches the news and keeps up on these events.

          Even here in the liberal bay area I see no love for biden/harris. I’m hoping the frenzy will die down after Trump gets his second term.

        • After a brief pause, I Just had a Glock19x I’ve been waiting for come In, I should have it by the weekend.

    • Good question Mark.
      In my case, my last two purchases (July/August) were used guns getting sold off. My LGS, has a significant inventory of stuff that folks are off loading to either make money or whatever.
      So those two had possibly already been checked long ago.
      So, with no inventory, are UBC’s just repeating, or are they new?

  2. Good news I guess…if it translates into a Trump win. I haven’t bought a darn thing. Just bought a van and it ate into my gun $. Oh and right now the DOW is roaring over 29000. And S L O W Joe left his basement. We’ll see what happens!

  3. Not all gunm sales come from retailers. Private sales do not make a vast majority although they do account for a substantial number. And now the ammo thing, A one gunm shooting different calibers is not such a bad idea. My pick the lowly break open 410, /44 mag, special/ .45 LC,/30-30win/ 444marlin and who knows what else. I’m beginning to think if it has a rim and you can stuff it in the chamber it will work. ,,,,Send me ammo any kind

    • A long long time ago when I got my G23 it specifically because I could convert it to 3 other calibers. Over the years I got 9mm, .357 Sig, and .22 conversions in both stock length for carry and threaded if I ever get a suppressor. That decision paid off during the Obama ammo shortages. I could almost always find something to shoot. Since then I stocked up so I am sitting this one out as far as buying. I wish I could find more reloading supplies, though.

      Sub caliber adapters used to be popular with hill billies and poachers and survivalists, back before that word became unpopular and was replaced by prepper. I have a few of those that allow various pistol calibers to be shot out of my SMLE. A bit of a pain to reload and you only get one shot before having to do so. But basically I can use any pistol round that will fit the bore.

    • NICS checks are going to be more for new firearms than used (obviously a percentage is used, but every gun store you walk in typically has more new than used firearms). Thus it represents more of new production guns going out into the market, which have to have a NICS check (or at least 4473 in the alternate ID states) prior to going into the wild. Most new owners are going to a local firearms retailer rather than buying private party. Guns sales by NICS will be under-reported due to the NICS exemptions in so many states, but most of the newest/first time owners won’t have exemption documentation. Therefore, NICS is really more of an indicator of new production guns going out into the market and some percentage of newer owners, with the new to guns aspect being the much harder one to quantify.

    • I would say all the rioters should get trophies of participation for being on that team. I think they’ve scared more people into buying their first gun than any politician ever did…

  4. “I haven’t bought a darn thing. Just bought a van and it ate into my gun $.”

    Bide your time. If Biden wins in December (after the mail-in ballots have all been manufactured) there will be a serious glut of guns on the market. You can probably fill your van with what a nice Les Baer 1911 would cost.

  5. If Biden wins there will be a run on guns, ammo and accessories like nobody has EVER seen before…especially anything that might be immediately banned or restricted…see that old AWB list for reference…
    Think prices are high now? Think availability is limited?
    Buy while you can. Backorder if you have to…if it is even an option.
    You can always use what you buy…or sell it later if you really have to.
    The dark days of 2012ish will look like a buffet table compared to what happens if Biden gets in.

    • “If Biden wins there will be a run on guns, ammo and accessories like nobody has EVER seen befor…”

      “Oh, do come along, Bond.”

      You’re not keeping up. Biden said that if Dims win the majorities and the presidency, all the rioting and looting will stop; no need after that for guns. It’s just common sense.

      • Biden said that if Dims win the majorities and the presidency, all the rioting and looting will stop; no need after that for guns.

        There you go, THIS guy gets it.. C’MON MAAANNNNN, I got this, just ask old Korn Pop, I had that Banger runnin for his life and STILL had time to get back to lettin the kids play with the hair on my legs… C’mon Man… You all know me, Do I look like a child molesting, socialist, gun grabbin, plagiarizing, prevaricator? C’mon Man… On the other hand, if you dummies’ vote for Trump all bets are off, there’s nothing I can do about those “mostly peaceful” protestors as an everyday citizen and if some of those despicable Trump people get shot or have their businesses destroyed well, it is what it is…C’mon Man, we’re just tryin to pull this country back together and BUILD BACK BETTER, C’MON MAAANNNNN..

    • Actually, you’re not far off, regardless of who wins. I have plenty of guns & ammo…looking into securing a few more extra replacement parts to make sure my gats keep running strong. Here in CA, the Keystone Kops in Sacramento have already declared legislative war on replacement parts like triggers and springs. Get ’em now while you can.

  6. got a 9 I was looking for- Archon Type B…
    couple Glock 10mm – 20 and a 29
    finally got my Hellcat OSP, too
    and a sweet FoldAR in .223Wylde…camo backpack included…nice

  7. People I never imagined would buy a gun are asking me the best choice for stopping criminals in their tracks.

    One guy bought 3.

    • Might get a good deal if they want to sell them in the future, too.
      Yes…plenty of folks seem to be realizing that it might not be a bad idea to have something…just in case.
      I usually have a list of things that I want…not just impulse buy.
      Still waiting on that Avidity Arms PD-10…now maybe the PD-11. LOL
      And a custom/semi-custom 1911. Have a nice Ed Brown…hard to beat.

      • I’ve two handguns and a semi rifle I want but I’m good with what I have. Might get a trap shotgun and get back into that.

        • “everybody should have a shotgun, just for the versatility….even Joe endorses them….”

          Only double barrel, and he will require the shotguns only be capable of firing out of the backdoor, into the air.

  8. Yesterday I went to drop off a Glock slide that I had RMR cut done on it. I did not want to have a Cerakote finish applied to it. So I took it to a company here in Orange County CA that does Melonite QPQ processing. Because it is a more durable finish.

    The guy that took my order told me that their business is up 60% for firearm coating. He told me that demand for firearms is so high right now that there is a shortage of raw materials to make them and manufacturers are struggling to find other ways to source these materials.

    That goes to show you how high the demand is right now and though that demand will never be higher that what is was after Sandy Hook in 2013!

  9. Based on my own experience, people are buying the heaviest guns available. Since there is no ammunition, heavy gun will make wonderful war clubs.

  10. Not all citizens fall for the Bravo Sierra of the civilian disarmament industry, sell baby sell, build baby build,Arms For All.

  11. Only thing I have bought this year is ammo and one of those Olight laser/light combos that was months back. Got everything else I think I need for now….when all of these newbys go to sell in a few months I might pick up something new to me.

    Lots of folks bought whatever they could put their hands on because Biden and Harris and Antifa and their useful idiots. With any luck the Democrats will go down in flames and take a few Senate and House seats with them. They clearly overplayed their Corona hand and then failed to control their fringe Bernie/BLM/Antifa nutters.

    • Time to see Biden’s financials. Wouldn’t it be a shocker to learn he or the family are heavily invested in the gun industry.

  12. If gun shops had trillions of guns and cases of ammo it would be all gone!!

    I guess all the gun control groups will be on unemployment & welfare soon…may they all rot in hell…

  13. Used to check gun store every week before grocery shopping, mostly to check the used guns section. Stopped going half a year ago when the panic buying first began after several cities shut down police because muh virus shit. I figured the crowds would only be there a couple months before a flood of used guns. Glad they’re not stopping, but I wish I bought more ammo even though I’ve got thousands of 9mm, 5.56 and 22lr.

    • hah, years ago my step dad gave me his Remington 1100, he hadn’t shot it for a long time. So’es being the gun guy figured I’d give it a good cleaning, a mouse had ran up the barrel , got stuck and died there because of the full choke. He was one of them fellers who always locked the action open. I do not recommend locking the action open for long periods of time, compressed springs weaken.

      • One of the best was I got the bright idea to hide my money in the shootgunm barrel( sis stole my money) one night the dogs had a chicken stealing coon treed, out the door I went, kablam, there went twenty bucks.

        • A nice coon hide woulda been worth around 20 bucks back then, so I hope you at least broke even, plus got some stew meat.

      • compressed springs weaken

        Not to second guess THE possum, but compression does NOT weaken springs, use weakens springs.. The act of compressing/decompressing a spring is what actually causes the metal to fail.. And OBTW hot sauce is not a luxury at my house, at football season we consume hot wings and chili by the pounds and Texas Pete is always on the grocery list… Charley made his own from a small but particularly potent little pepper…

        • Texas Pete is my daughter’s favorite condiment. Well, unless my wife has a batch of fresh aji made with tree tomatoes, but that doesn’t happen very often.


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