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.