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Background checks completed in the FBI’s National Instant Background Check system totaled 2,073,296 in August, a 7.7% increase over 2017. That’s the highest number for August since NICS was established in 1998. For reference, the August 1999 NICS total was 703,394 about one-third of the current total.

More and more NICS checks are being used for purposes other than firearm purchases. In August of 2018, 1,059,500 checks were done for permits or permit re-checks.

Some of the those classified as permit checks reported were actually done in connection with gun sales. For example, the state of Hawaii shows 8,458 permit checks and zero firearms sales checks. All other states and territories show both permit checks and firearms checks.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has adjusted the NICS numbers to remove the permit checks and re-checks. Aside from Hawaii, it’s a good general indicator of firearm sales trends.

The NSSF numbers show that firearm sales are in healthy, if not record territory. Remember that people with permits to carry a firearm can purchase firearms without going through an additional NICS check in half (25) of the states. There are over 17 million permits to carry in the United States.

With the August numbers, the total NICS checks for the first eight months of 2018 totals 17,2011,932. That compares to 17,951,806 checks for the same period in the all time record year of 2016. The 2018 numbers are the second highest on record so far, at 96% of the 2016 total for the same period.

Historically, there have been about .6 firearms added to the private stock in the United States for each NICS check. The number has dropped slightly to about .56 in recent years.

Using the .56 figure, that means over 10 million more firearms added to the private stock so far in 2018 , for a total of about 427 million. If that trend continues, there will be over 430 million firearms in private hands by the end of the year.


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

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  1. What dafuq? I’ve been told by honest folks at cnn and the democratic party that only 5 ofwg belonging to an anti-anything-but-white-guy militia in Podunk, Fly Over Country, own and buy all the guns in America.

    Has somebody been misinformed?

    • Misinformed and uneducated,of course it’s difficult to do those when one swills and bathes in the Kool Aid daily.

  2. I don’t even “need” another firearm right now. If I put in paperwork for another suppressor will that help bump up the numbers or do I really “need” to buy another firearm. Oh, whatever, I’ll do both. I’m decisive that way. I need to celebrate our newest Supreme Court Justice, anyway. 30

    • “I need to celebrate our newest Supreme Court Justice, anyway.”

      Are you referring to Gorsuch? Because I do not think the Senate has actually confirmed Kavanaugh yet.

      • The day of celebration I’m in hopes of is the day Ruthie BadGirl kicks or retires,let the corks pop and the 21 guns salute

        • Only woof a chit if DJT is president and the Senate has 51 Republicans. Appointment of ANOTHER RBG would last another 30 years.

  3. If Leftist’s only realized they were the motivating factor in a large percentage in record firearms sales they would go into a hissy fit,however it’s entertaining to sit back and watch them melt down.

  4. It really isn’t an accurate indicator of actual sales. Ask any Retailer how badly sales sucked in August.

  5. Well, I just helped boost September’s number of NICS checks: this afternoon I purchased a .22 LR Heritage Rough Rider single-action revolver on sale for $100.

    (Say what you will about Rough Rider revolvers: at that price I cannot possibly go wrong.)

    • I actually haven’t heard anything about them beyond the price, their being made in Florida, and failing the racist melt tests. I wouldn’t expect a single action 22 revolver to be something that’s possible to screw up.

    • Not sure I’d call it a “farce,” but in my area (northern Virginia) the numbers must be pretty bad. We’ve had two major gun stores close up shop in the past year – The Gun Dude and NOVA Firearms (the one local snowflakes wanted to close because it’s back end was adjacent to the back end of a middle school). Both gun stores cited the slump in gun sales after Trump’s election in their “signing off” emails.

    • TTAG (Dean) and aren’t that far apart. says 841K guns, above says about 1M guns, but that includes other items as well. So when you add those in, states exactly 889,395. That’s only a 12.4% difference, but we can only approximate. Some months might have a higher license/purchase ratio, some lower, but it averages out over the year. Sales are lower in the summer, but license checks may be higher. Sales ramp up in the fall and winter where license checks may be lower as instructors are forced to use indoor ranges more often for classes (and license rechecks would happen on the anniversary of the initial issuance).

      Each year we’re given manufacturing numbers so we know how many firearms are getting into the hands of gun owners. Gun stores aren’t stockpiling tens of millions of guns year over year. So I find your objection unreasonable.

      I have a safe full of guns and haven’t even had a NICS check run on me for years and years because Michigan’s license complies with federal guidelines (<= five years) to be exempt.

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