Previous Post
Next Post
 The National Instant Check System (NICS)  performs a check when people buy firearms from federally licensed dealers in the United States. It is also used to perform background checks on people applying for firearm carry permits in those states where such permits are required or offered by law. As there are now over 15 million carry permits in the United States, and firearm sales numbers are in the 10 to 20 million range per year, you can see that the number of NICS checks is not a perfect fit for the number of firearms sold . . .

One of the reasons for this discrepancy: one check can be used to purchase multiple firearms, and most people with carry permits are not required to have an instant check performed when they purchase a firearm. They had it done when they obtained their permit. Luckily, we have a good measure of how many additional firearms are added to the U.S. private stock each year, thanks to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The ATF tracks licensed firearm manufacture, import and export numbers on a yearly basis. ATF takes about 18 months to process the numbers and publish them. We do not have data on how many used firearms are sold by dealers. Presumably, they fall into the 40 percent of NICS checks that are done in excess of the new firearms added.

Anyway, you can compare the ATF increase in the private firearms stock with the NICS checks done for that year. The correlation is very high, with r= .9776.  1.0 would be a perfect fit. At that correlation level, I have confidence in predicting the increase in private firearms from the NICS numbers.

Over the fifteen years that have been recorded, there have been 1.685 NICS checks for each additional firearm added to the private stock in the United States.  Multiplying the NICS check numbers (provided monthly by the FBI) by .5934 gives us a good approximation of the firearms added.

At the end of 2013, the private firearm stock in the United States is estimated at 363.3 million firearms. Sixteen million were added in 2013.  According the the FBI figures, the NICS checks for 2014 were 20.969 million. That would be another 12.44 million firearms added in 2014.

In the first seven months of 2015, there were an additional 12.067 million NICS checks. Another 7.16 million firearms were added. Continuing that rate for the whole year would bring the total to 12.277 million added in 2015. At the end of 2015, the stock should be at 388+ million firearms. Given the current trend, another 12 million or more firearms will be added in 2016, bringing the total stock to 400 million+ firearms by the end of the Obama presidency.

At the end of 2008 and the beginning of the Obama presidency, there were about 308 million private firearms in the United States.  After eight years of President Obama in the highest executive position, I predict that there will be over 400 million. That is a net gain of 92 million firearms in eight years, making President Obama the greatest firearm salesman of all time.

Source for NICS numbers: From

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. That’s small potatoes compared to the hardware that will be sold in the middle east as a result of his iran nuke (read lift the sanctions) deal.

    • But they don’t track arms purchased by terrorists.
      Iran: the biggest sponsor of terrorism… Being given BILLIONS to support more terrorists….

      • I know there is a back door deal. The money will be taken from our treasury (tax money) and will be split between Iran and Obama. This is a perfect cover for him and his backers to get back the money they gave him to win the presidency. The country has taken a serious beating by this most corrupt of administrations. I doubt it will be able to survive what Hillary Clinton will steal once she gets control of our tax money.

  2. More than half of my guns, and 90% of my stockpiled, anti-gun panic inducing ammo I bought during the Obama administration.

    Thanks Barry! We love you.

    • All five of our firearms and 100% of our ammunition stockpile was purchased during Mr. Obama’s term.

      Wish I could buy more, but the vehicles need repair.

      • Same here. Inspired by the President’s actions following Sandy Hook, I got my CCW in 2013 soon followed by my first gun purchase. I had something like 24 guns at the time of my unfortunate boating accident. It was very tragic, but I haven’t let it stop me. Obama continues to be an inspiration and I’ll continue to buy more guns as my own special way of showing my admiration for him. Thanks, Obama!

        • sorry to hear about the loss of your boat. Glad you are ok… you must have been wearing a good life vest. Unfortunitely too many people don’t wear them, thinking, “we won’t sink” so it’s not needed and besides they’re not cool looking. I am also a survivor. I was on a boat that was tossed violently to and fro by a sudden storm and then we hit an Iceberg, nobody saw floating in the water, the boat was lost within seconds. I owe my life to the floaties I was wearing.

        • Floaties! That’s a good idea. In fact with the number of guns lost every year in tragic boating accidents it seems like there might be a market for a cool new product: “Gun Floaties – Never lose your guns in the lake again!”

  3. —- That is a net gain of 92 million firearms in eight years —-

    and I have it on good Authority that’s it’s all just the same 40 or 50 OFWG’s adding to their collection. Man they must have one hell of a collection! Totally jealous.

    • You forgot; 40 or 50 *redneck, *Christian, *patriotic, *conservative, *wealthy OFWGs.

      Remember? – divide and conquer.

  4. I wonder how many are bare AR-15 receivers. Lots of guys bought them by the dozen as an investment when it looked like another ban was coming. It would be interesting to compare the number of AR receivers manufactured to the number of uppers manufactured in the same period.

    • I may or may not have taken advantage of a post-bloom sell off of lowers when certain stocks of them were being cleared out…

  5. So, anyone want to take up a collection and send Obama a plaque with a $50 gift certificate to Chilli’s?

    • Hillary would be the best short term thing that could possibly happen to the firearms industry’s bottom line.

  6. Hmm and maybe I have a few that don’t show on the list…Factor in an assumption of firearms legally made by individuals(80% lowers, parts kit builds, etc) and we have one big damn number. The term “come and take them” comes to mind.

  7. So can TTAG make an official “Congrats On The Achievement!” card that we can print and send to our buddy in the big house? Oh sorry I meant to write White House.

  8. I decided to look a little closer at these numbers. I was curious about what the average number of guns sold per year while a president was in office. This would compensat (to some degee) for the different lengths of time each president served.

    Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy ranged from 1.75 (Eisenhower) 2.0 million guns a year.

    Under Johnson the average jumped to 3.6 million a year. Nearly doubled.

    Under Nixon it grew again to 5.5 million guns a year. Not double, but a noticable jump.

    The average per president for Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Both Bushs and Clinton ranged from 4.38 million ( Reagan) to 5.5 Million ( Ford and Carter )

    And then there was Obama…….

    Based on the sales and estimates from 2009 until 2014 gun sales have averaged 11.17 million guns per year Under Obama. This is at least double the average rate of sale for the past 7 presidents.

    Why the Jump in Sales? Here is my theory…..Trust.

    It can be argured that Johnson and Nixon were not widely trusted and both had to deal with the Soviets, Veitnam, and the Middle East.

    One can also argue that Obama has a few trust issues as well. He is dealing with Russia, Iran, ISIS, and the Middle east, and finding time for his next round of golf. (Sorry could, not resist)

    When Americans see trouble in the world and do not trust the President they for lack of a better term “tool up”.

    I will be interested to see wht happens to sales when a new President takes office.

    PS – I know there are alot of variables not accounted for in this analysis, please dont lecture me on stats.

  9. My buying certainly ramped up after the attempts to create more gun control. I support gun control. That’s why I buy guns. So now I control them.

  10. Maybe we ought to make an exception just this once and let him run for office one more time. Think of it.

    A chicken in every pot. Two cars in every garage. And two EBR’s in every closet.

  11. I don’t think Obama deserves all that credit. The trend in the chart starts 2006 for sure and possibly 2004. Obama wasn’t elected until 2009. What happened in 2004? The so called “assault weapons” ban sunset in 2004, allowing the public to finally buy what they wanted all along, Modern Sporting Rifles. I would argue it took a couple years for manufacturers to ramp to meet the public demand. I do know that once that garbage legislation sunset a lot of people went out and got a AR-15 and magazines.

    Also the numbers of states that have concealed carry permits jumped and the number of permit holders increased by 146 percent from 2007 to 2014 (only data I could find). Much I would argue is because states passed carry permit laws, allowing people to finally carry a gun for self defense legally and unambiguously.


    Certainly Obama had his effect on the market but the trending pent up demand and huge new demand should not be ignored.

    Obama already has stolen credit for far too many things he had little to do with, and doesn’t get the credit he deserves for damage he has done.

Comments are closed.