FBI NICS Background Checks Drop 10% in January

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An Associated Press analysis of new FBI data published early Tuesday shows the National Instant Criminal Background Check system processed more than 2.78 million checks in December. That was a 12-month peak following an upward trend through last fall.” The decline’s down to empty shelves and higher prices, as millions of Americans purchased firearms of all kinds, sorts and descriptions; frightened that the civilian disarmament movement will deny them their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. While the pressure drop is significant . . .

it pays to remember that the 2.48 million January stat is “still greater than any other month last year.” It’ll be interesting to see if renewed supply will ease prices and sustain demand—or if the effect of state and federal gun grabs will sustain demand anyway.

Bottom line: it’s still a good day to be a gun maker or gun dealer. A Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and maybe even Minnesotan AR owner or prospective buyer . . . not so much.


  1. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    If only the political knuckleheads would equate the rush to bear arms with their constituents’ wishes, the gun-grabbing talk would diminish…

    1. avatar Nickbnumbers says:

      I’m so weary of hearing that “the American people have spoken and want to be disarmed,” or that there is a “consensus,” or that “the majority of ____ want common sense ____.”

      Talk is cheap. Firearms are expensive. It costs NOTHING to say that we need to solve our problems with “culture and intelligence” (yes, someone actually said that). It speaks infinitely more loudly to have the American public buying everything on the shelves at high prices during a recession.

  2. avatar cyrano says:

    You can’t buy what is not available. NICS stats only work when the market is well supplied.

  3. avatar C says:

    down ten percent from December is still pretty crazy. As for the manufactures and dealers, their stock-out costs are through the damn roof. It would be awesome for their pocketbooks if they had inventory to sell, but every time a guy comes in for an AR and you have to turn him away because you’ve none, you’re effectively losing money.

    1. avatar See This Also says:

      Indeed; all of the top 10 NICS check days save for one was in November 2012 or later. All of the top 10 NICS check weeks were in November 2012 or later, most in December 2012 and later.

      This is counting back to 1998 mind you.


  4. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if renewed supply will ease prices and sustain demand— just got the new CTD catalog (not like i’m going to buy from these guys) they fricken don’t have prices next to half there items what is this “market price” like your buying a lobster dinner? FOAD CTD

  5. avatar Mashashin says:

    I’m impressed that there was that many guns to sell more then anything else

  6. avatar jwm says:

    I’m not a business man. I’m simply guessing. Would a rash of state AWB’s mean fewer AR’s sold because the market has shrunk? Would this in turn lead to a slowdown in production with an attendent rise in prices? Maybe even some of the companies that rely on heavy AR consumption going under?

    1. avatar Robert M says:

      How many states are actually going to get these AWB bans. I know Maryland is going to be a tough fight but there are enough gun loving Democrats in the state that the Democrat Party has been staying clear of gun control for the last several years and our entire state government is up for reelection in 2014. So we are close enough that many gun loving people in the state will still remember come election time.

      With that said not all the states with pending stuff is going to pass.


      1. avatar Mauser says:

        Robert, I hope you have the time to go to Annapolis tomorrow to oppose these new disarmament bills. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

      2. avatar Eric Sowers says:

        Just whisper loudly, “Joe Tydings… Joe Tydings…..” That should do it.

    2. avatar Ben says:

      I would think that in areas where they remain legal, there would be a greater supply to meet the demand.

    3. avatar C says:

      in many of the states proposing new AWB’s, AR’s were already next to illegal anyway. There also probably wasn’t a massive market in those states to begin with, or they wouldn’t be so anti-gun. I doubt state level AWB’s would have too much of an impact on the companies. Some, but if it made them go under, they were likely on thin ice in the first place.

  7. avatar TheSleeperHasAwakened says:

    Background checks are down because supply is down.

  8. avatar Alan says:

    I think the low January Numbers are due to bare shelves. I just contributed to the Feb numbers with an AR lower. Only thing I can find right now and it was hard to find and overpriced too…by about $75.

  9. avatar Chris says:

    SC permit holders don’t need a NICS check so I’m not counted in those numbers which is a shame 🙂

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      Same in NC.

      1. avatar Gyufygy says:

        Wait, no, realized I’m wrong: if you have a CHP, you don’t need to pay $5 for the sheriff to run the background check when buying a handgun. The FFL just makes the call, same as with rifles or most other states.

        FOAD Jim Crow laws.

  10. avatar Aharon says:

    Roughly 5.25 million NICS background checks in December and January with only about a 1.5% no-pass rate is still a huge number. A number of potential gun buyers are not buying since they can’t find ammo.

  11. avatar Jesse Nelson says:

    Well yeah… every one’s out of money!

  12. avatar A Really Pissed Off Lawyer says:

    Should put deep-blue Delaware on the watch list. We just reelected a Democrat governor and lt. governor, and Joe Biden’s son is our attorney general (up for reelection in 2014); they came out with a raft of the usual idiotic rhetoric and idiotic proposals, none of which (as far as I know) have been introduced in bill form yet. We have Democrats in control of both houses of the state legislature, although a lot of them historically have been pretty gun-friendly (like NRA A-rated gun-friendly). Conversely, a lot of Delaware Republicans tend to be pretty useless on guns.

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    If there’s nothing to buy, then there’s nothing to check.

    BTW, this is one of those times when I’m so happy to have a C&R 03 license. Good C&R guns are out there if you look for them, and I’ve been using my forced savings on ammo to buy some really nice rifles.

  14. avatar Joatmon2 says:

    Senseless to buy a gun when there’s no ammunition. I couldn’t get near my LGS and now I can walk right in. Still has a few guns but only SD ammo, no target.

  15. avatar David W. says:

    Was at the gun store today. Two of them actually, looking for an IWB holster for my SR9 now that I have my CCW. (Picked it up today!!!)

    Only 1 Ar15, and 1 AK47 were for sale at both stores combined. There was no 9mm, not even 1 dollar a round self defense ammo. Both stores despite being smaller than the average living room had half a dozen guys in it even though it was 3 pm on a Tuesday.

  16. avatar OHgunner says:

    The wife has been foaming at the mouth to get an AR, but we can’t find any for us to buy. Therefore we’re on the market, but won’t be contributing to the NICS check number for a while.

    Can’t find any damn ammo even if we could find a gun anyway, so the point is moot at the moment.

  17. avatar swampsniper says:

    Nothing in the stores to buy. Now is a good time to have one of the less popular calibers, you can still find ammo.

    1. avatar Bob H says:

      In my neck of the urban .223, 5.7X28, .308, .243, .30-06, 9mm, .45, .40, .38, and 38 super are all out of stock. .357, .22, and .22wmr are both available in limited quantities, .17 and .17 HMR are available everywhere (except WallyWorld. My two closest WalMarts stores don’t carry guns or ammunition.)

      1. avatar TR says:

        Yeah, Utah has .22 short, .22 bird shot, and .22 WMR in stock. .22 LR is a thing of legend akin to white unicorns. 9mm is hard to find, .45, .357 and most other handgun calibers are around but scarce. I picked up a box of 100 in .45 from Sportsman’s yesterday for $43 ish, so not too terrible. Most rifle calibers are still available, too.

        LGS has plenty of black rifles in stock here. If I could afford one I’d be all over it.

  18. avatar slow says:

    Can you imagine the AP (assist POTUS) headline if any other consumer good had over a 30 day period, doubled in price, inventories were depleted and sales only decreased 10%.

  19. avatar Lance says:

    So gun sales are down. BUT its because we bought all the guns up LOL!

    1. avatar anonymous says:

      > we bought all the guns up

      Doing my part to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

  20. avatar Mike in NC says:

    Considering how quickly stores emptied in late December and how little was left to sell the 2.48 million number is staggeringly high! January numbers generally tend to tumble by about 30% from December.

  21. avatar Dr. Mike says:

    I can tell you with 100% certainty without looking at the data or even ever having taken economics the only reason that the NICS checks are down is because there are no guns left to buy. If the shelves were not bare I would bet my bottom dollar NICS checks would be up yet again.

  22. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    Checks dropped because there’s no guns left.

    As for us New York AR owners, yes sir, we are in a world of hurt. I’m going to modify mine rather than register it. If that’s not good enough for the state police, then I sell it to a relative out of state and he holds it for me until I can get my son through high school and take my leave of this lefty madhouse. Pennsylvania, here I come! (Unless they go Lefty Mad.)

  23. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    This too shall pass, one way or another.

    Y’all keep your powder dry.

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