The surge of gun buying by Americans of all stripes, in all parts to the country continues, and took a big jump last month. As the National Shooting Sports Foundation reports, December 2019 adjusted NICS background check totals — a good indicator of retail gun purchases in the US — increased 15.1 % from a year earlier.
The fourth quarter was up 4.9% as well.
Heading into an election year with all of the Democrat candidates’ running on more restrictive gun control laws — if not outright confiscation — Americans are doing what rational actors do. They’re hedging their bets and buying more guns and ammo. Just as they did in 2016.
What does that mean? Thanks to the anti-gun left’s assiduous opposition to Second Amendment rights, the total number of civilian-owned firearms — 423 million according to the NSSF — is rising by the day, with no end in sight.
Here’s the NSSF’s press release . . .
The December 2019 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,553,965 is an increase of 4.0 percent compared to the December 2018 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,494,087. For comparison, the unadjusted December 2019 FBI NICS figure 2,898,501 reflects a 15.1 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,517,286 in December 2018.
The fourth quarter 2019 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 4,001,455 reflects an increase of 4.9 percent over the 3,813,342 figure for fourth quarter 2018. The 2019 annual total of 13,199,172 is a 0.6 percent increase over the 2018 annual total of 13,116,005.
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. Recently, the state of Alabama had a law change that affected their Brady Law standing which removed qualifying alternate permits usage for firearm transactions. These changes went into effect July 22, 2019 for Alabama. In December 2019, Alabama state’s NSSF-adjusted NICS was 134.5 percent higher than December 2018 which accounts for an additional 37,820 checks over this time last year.
The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF started subtracting permit rechecks in February 2016.
Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms.
It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.