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2016 continues on its record breaking pace to become the year with the most gun sales ever. It is not a squeaker. 2016 pulled ahead out of the gate and has been gaining ground ever since. The 2016 NICS checks are far ahead of those for 2015, the previous record holder.

In 2015, the total NICS checks for the year were 23,141,970. In 2015, through June, the numbers were 10,466,243. Through July, they were 12,067,075. Through August, 2015, they were 13,812,485.

For 2016 through June they are 13,829,491. For July, 2016, the record numbers continue. The FBI performed 2,197,169 checks in July, making 16,026,660 for 2016 so far.

2016 is already over two months ahead of the 2015 record. It is 32.8% ahead of where 2015 was at this time. If this pace continues, 2016 will end up with over 30 million background checks for the year. Instead of slacking off, the pace for 2016 seems to have picked up a bit.

There are 15 years where we can compare the NICS background checks to the actual addition to the private firearms stock, as reported to the ATF. During that period there have been about .6 firearms added for each NICS check.

The NICS checks are done for more than new firearms. They are done for used firearms as well. They are done when trade ins are sold at gun shops or when used guns are sold at gun shows. NICS checks are done for gun carry permits, which are also breaking records every month.

We will not know exactly how many guns have been added to the private stock in 2016 until late January, 2018. The numbers will not be reported to the ATF until the end of 2016. The ATF is required by law to hold them from public view for a year, to prevent proprietary information from being released. (It’s easy to understand how a manufacturer wants to know exactly how many guns of certain models and calibers their competitors are selling.)

Given the NICS numbers, if there are over 30 million checks done in 2016, there will probably be over 18 million guns added to the private stock. That would increase the private stock to about 406 million private firearms in the United States.

The private firearm stock in the United States will have increased by nearly 100 million firearms, or 30%, during the two terms of the Barack Obama presidency. To reach that number there will need to be 14 million more NICs checks done in 2016 from 1 August to 31 December. In 2015, 11 million NICS checks were done in that period.

That would be a remarkable achievement.

Some polls have reported that the number of people who admit to owning firearms has decreased in recent years. This is not hard to understand.

When ownership of firearms is demonized as unpatriotic, when there are calls for banning the most popular rifle in the United States (the AR15 and its variants), when California has formed a special police group that goes door-to-door confiscating firearms registered by people recently labelled as prohibited possessors, when the Massachusetts AG unilaterally issues a diktat that guns previously not defined as “assault weapons” will henceforward be legally considered “assault weapons,” people will be reluctant to tell strangers that they possess guns.

After the political pressure for more Second Amendment infringements has passed, polls will reveal an increased number of gun owners who are willing to speak up.

All other indicators are for a soaring and  diverse level of gun ownership. Carry permits are burgeoning, approaching 15 million and more. Gun ownership among women and minorities is at an all time high.

Who would have thought that the presidency of Barack Obama would be such a boon to American gun manufacturers?

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

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  1. Isn’t possible. According to all the civil rights haters there’s only a dozen or so old white guys that own guns in America.

    I bought an air rifle in july. It won’t show on the list, though.

    • I bought a muzzleloader in May or June … that won’t show up on NICS checks either since it isn’t a “firearm”.

      I laugh hysterically at the fact that the legal definition of a “firearm” excludes muzzleloaders. Apparently that means a .50 caliber, 295 grain bullet exiting the muzzle at 1600 fps means nothing more than a mosquito bite if you are on the receiving end.

    • we have to be repeat buyers! With so many boating accidents and the like, I am hard pressed myself to present decent toy box at the range these days…

  2. Anyone thinks the ATF/FBI/NSA can actually perform 16,026,660 per year (much less YTD) or the 30M projected NICS checks that are even worth the title, then I have a straw purchase of a bridge in Brooklyn to make for you.

    Bottom line, if anyone’s selling you on the idea that this flimsy honor-system background check is protecting you, from even yourself, they are fing lying.

    The only good news I can find here is that guns are becoming so common (without the commensurate safeties, and yet without the resultant blood in the streets and bloody shirts to wave) that regulation will eventually seem superfluous.

    [U.S.] National Range Day anyone?

    • Joe brings up a really important point: can we even believe that the FBI can actually process 24 million background checks in a year?

      If the FBI is available 365 days a year to run background checks and answers calls from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central Time, they would have to process 5,479 background checks each hour. If the average background check takes 2 minutes, a single agent could process 30 background checks per hour. That means the FBI would have to staff at 183 agents in order to process all those background checks on average.

      I have a REALLY hard time believing that the FBI has 183 agents answering phones 12 hours a day. Best of all, this has to be something that we can verify pretty easily. Wouldn’t basic FBI staffing information be public record? Alternatively, wouldn’t FBI budget for NICS checks (which we could use to estimate staffing) be public record?

      Note: I doubt that the FBI keeps exactly 183 agents available for answering phones 12 hours a day, every day of the week since customer demand would obviously be relatively low at certain times of the day/week and relatively high at other times of the day/week. Further complicating matters, staffing take days off for vacations, sicks days, maternity leaves, bereavement, and continuing education. This would require that the FBI have even more staff on hand for NICS checks. I would estimate that time-off demands would require an extra 10% in terms of staffing … bumping the staff requirement up to 200. And I haven’t even accounted for the fact that they would actually need even more agents to answer the phones during peak times.

      • I have no doubt but that the vast majority of checks are cleared automatically by computers, with agents looking at a BC only if the computer flags it. This is why a check can come back almost instantaneously in some cases. At least if you don’t live in a state that insists on performing its own checks (like California, which insists it needs ten days to do its work, even as to those checks that return no flags at all.)

      • This is one of three centers that process the phone and paper NICS checks. Take a look at the size of the place on google maps (satellite). Casually spoke with one of the NICS operator ladies before, since living about 10mi from there.

        1000 Custer Hollow Rd, Clarksburg, WV 26306

  3. Well I didn’t make July but I am in August. And September, October and Black Friday… and I got the wife on board;-)

    • I wish I had that kind of disposable income, but at least I am adding to the checks for August (even if it is a used rifle).

      • Oh it AIN’T disposable Mark…I’m way behind on my arsenal and now I get a gubmint check every month 🙂

  4. Well I bought one gun in July and one in May, but sold 4 over the winter. I haven’t had a NICS check in 3 years though since my weapons carry permit was issued. The May gun was new. The July gun was an unfired ‘new’ gun from a private collector manufactured in 2010 (still an obamagun). I think I’m responsible for 12 new obamaguns in total.

    • I bought all eight of my family’s guns during Obama’s presidency. Best gun salesman ever?

    • Good point. My state does not require background checks if you have a concealed carry license … even for handgun purchases. That being the case, I know for a fact that some firearms dealers do not bother to run an NICS check after verifying your concealed carry license. How many more purchases happen that way???

      • The NICS check is performed before you’re issued a carry permit. There’s no need to perform a check every time you buy a weapon. The NICS system often goes ‘down’ for hours at a time. Why would any FFL bother running a NICS check that’s neither necessary nor required by law? At best he’d be wasting 15 minutes of his time. At worst the system is down and he just lost a sale now and probably any and all potential future sales. In the case of my state there’s also a permit to purchase a pistol. It’s good for a year and once issued, no more NICS checks will be performed, regardless of how many pistols are purchased.

        As far as the NICS checks relate to the number of new firearms sold, this factor is offset by the fact that used guns also require a NICS check or permit.

        • Guv, from your post I gather that there is no *cost* to an FFL to submit a NICS check? Somehow I doubt that. My LGS does not sell to those without a LTC, doesn’t even have the equipment. Says his business model is working better than he expected. Dunno why he says that, I don’t think I’ve even spent $10,000 there (yet).

        • As far as I know you just have to call it in. Either way though it costs time and time is money.

  5. I bought a gun in July and I’m going to buy one in August, too. And September. That’s about as far in advance as I can plan.

  6. “when California has formed a special police group that goes door-to-door confiscating firearms registered by people recently labelled as prohibited possessors”

    This is actually happening? Link/s.

    If true, why aren’t we shooting?

    • Those people are not shooting because the ones from whom guns are being seized are usually those who have had a recent involuntary visit to the loony bin. Or people hit with a domestic violence restraining order. Or convicted of domestic violence. They tend not to go after drug dealers and felons in possession, maybe because those people are actually dangerous, or because the cops assume that the felons will re-offend soon enough. And all of this is being paid for out of the pockets of gun buyers, NOT out of the general fund. In fact, there was a new raid on excess funds this session, because the enforcement division ran out of money. Funny thing though is they ran out of money not because they are arresting lots of folks, but because every time the train up a new agent, the guy quits and goes to find a permanent jop elsewhere in government.

    • And what about all the guns at the bottom of lakes, rivers and oceans? My guns form a man-made reef outside the Fire Island Inlet.

  7. Have bought 4 SO FAR this year, not one had a NICS check because my CCW lets me buy a rifle or handgun without it because I have already been rung thru a very hard wringer–I do not mind the CCW being rigorous to obtain because I am good in a total of 40 states at the moment–my state (NC) also honors permits from all 50, the way to do it–about 2 dozen purchased since b. hussein took office–there are a few states that clears you from NICS with a CCW-would be nice to know total number purchases

  8. Problem is none of this matters when all Semi-automatic firearms are blanket banned after hillary gets selected president. When I mean blanket bab I’m talking all semi automatic firearms are legal to own. Period. Door to door confiscation and also public execution of gun owners who oppose. Also what will it matter when the NRA is considered a terrorist organization and all their leadership are lined up in front of their headquarters in Virginia and executed on the national media?

    Actually I expect gun sales to cease during her term as the NICS is permanently shut down and all FFL’s revoked. No new sales of new firearms ever again. And owning a gun will be punishable by death without trial. And Scotus will say it’s OK. Shit with the kind of Scotus judges that she will point I’m pretty sure that the government overall would not be upset if she even dropped nuclear weapons to control the uprising she would create. MSNBC would cheer

    • All kidding aside, that’s the sad thing. The left and neoliberals claim to abhor violence, but yet they cheer with bloodthirsty enthusiasm when the State does it on their behalf. Look around social media – how many times do you see someone who leans left cheer when the cops kill someone who isn’t a minority? Also count up the times you see them wish death upon gun owners, i.e. “I hope you shoot yourself…” or “If I see you open carrying I’m going to call the cops and I hope they shoot you…” or “I hope your child gets ahold of your gun and shoots you…”

      A big trend in the last 20 years was outsourcing. The left and neoliberals prefer to outsource their responsibilities, including the use of force.

    • Germany, 1935–all guns registered, then confiscated when the Nazi’s knew where they were–Penalty for NOT registering, Execution–Penalty for possession after confiscation, Execution–“This year will go down in history. For the first time a civilized nation will have full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police will be more efficient and the world will follow our lead into the future”-Adolf Hitler, 1935–The Police certainly were more efficient; no armed resistance when they came to take your ass to the concentration camp–Just remember that the Dumbocratic Party is the Nazi Party.

      • “Penalty for NOT registering, Execution–Penalty for possession after confiscation, Execution”

        Normally, I’ll wait until such people come to my door. If these are the rules, I will go hunting. Not a smart concept for police, at least while other jobs are available. Maybe that’s why Jomama is trying to destroy our economy. I’m old, and never was the best, but I can find a spot beside an Interstate and wait for a police car to come by. A few million of me, and the brilliant idea will lose its lustre very quickly, as all the cops in the country quit. And then it’s time to visit DC.

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