Fact or Fake news
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We’ve all learned the risk in trusting legacy media outlets like MSN on much of anything – especially when it comes to gun related topics. They usually can’t help themselves. They’re either tripping over their own anti-gun narrative or they’re so ignorant on the topic that they don’t even know what they don’t know.

Sure enough, another mainstream outlet has just given us reason number eleventy-billion and one not to trust anything they report because neither their “journalists” nor their editors can manage even the most basic fact-checking.

One of MSN’s galaxy brains managed to Google the FBI’s latest NICS background check totals. Douglas A. McIntyre assumed that the number of background checks equals the number of guns sold. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

You can probably guess what happened next. Brace yourself for some breathless journalistic frothing at the mouth . . .

Americans Bought 39 Million Guns Last Year. Here Is Each State’s Figure.

Last year, Americans bought 38.9 million guns, the second-highest year since data began to be kept by the FBI in 1998. It is only topped by 2020 when the number was 39.7 million. The best proxy for gun sales in America is the FBI’s NICS Firearms Background Check. Very few people who go through this check are denied permission to purchase weapons.

The number of guns sold in the United States since the start of 1998 is staggering. Through the end of last year, the figure reached 411.6 million, or over 20% more than the U.S. population. This number comes close to matching the 2018 report from the Small Arms Survey. It puts gun ownership in the U.S. at 393 million, or 46% of the global total of guns owned by civilians. Also, guns sold before 1998 are not included in the FBI number, nor are guns bought illegally, so even the agency’s number may be low.

That last line in the second paragraph is a particularly nice touch. Continuing . . .

Here are gun sales by state in 2021:

Alabama (946,271) Alaska (91,207) Arizona (563,763) Arkansas (288,706) California (1,476,073) Colorado (628,811) Connecticut (277,250) Delaware (69,068) District of Columbia (12,910) Florida (1,711,685) Georgia (806,912) Guam (4,518) Hawaii (17,707) Idaho (273,762) Illinois (8,474,505) Indiana (1,815,531) Iowa (266,678) Kansas (230,168) Kentucky (3,848,061) Louisiana (401,345) Maine (129,193) Mariana Islands (364) Maryland (267,753) Massachusetts (259,248) Michigan (970,990) Minnesota (945,299) Mississippi (323,319) Missouri (634,191) Montana (160,640) Nebraska (90,676) Nevada (186,578) New Hampshire (151,853) New Jersey (223,437) New Mexico (194,989) New York (464,575) North Carolina (781,733) North Dakota (80,546) Ohio (851,887) Oklahoma (416,514) Oregon (454,133) Pennsylvania (1,408,165) Puerto Rico (74,381) Rhode Island (37,936) South Carolina (485,487) South Dakota (106,881) Tennessee (964,512) Texas (1,980,753) Utah (1,181,564) Vermont (51,549) Virgin Islands (2,145) Virginia (655,339) Washington (736,846) West Virginia (224,240) Wisconsin (785,856) Wyoming (84,624)

I happen to live in Illinois. I noticed that, according to McIntyre, my state supposedly won the 2021 competition by buying the most firearms with a whopping total of 8.474 million guns sold.

That made me laugh out loud. For real. If true, that would be almost 3.5 guns purchased for every FOID cardholder (about 2.4M) in the Land o’ Lincoln.

Now — hypothetically speaking — I may or may not have met or exceeded that mark last year. Then again, I also seem to have a lot more unfortunate boating accidents than the average gun owner.

Long story short: Doug’s numbers, published on the MSN website, are pure garbage.

The problem? The FBI NICS report the MSN wizard got ahold of does not represent the “best proxy for gun sales in America.” It represents just what it says: background checks. And the NICS background check system is used for much more than just gun sales (think concealed carry permit renewals).

If McIntyre or an MSN editor had taken a moment to visit another FBI site (here), they would have seen a whole list of options for accessing more NICS data.

Screen capture by Boch. Courtesy FBI

And by scrolling down to NICS Firearm Checks: Year by State/Type Doug and his editors would have found information that’s more along the lines of what he was looking for.

Screencap by Boch via FBI

Using all of my fingers and toes, it turns out the number of gun sales for Illinois last year was just over 528,000. That means the actual number of firearms sold in my state was about 6% of what MSN’s McIntyre so lazily and erroneously reported.

As for the grand total of guns sold, the FBI pegs it at about 17.9 million guns sold in 2021. That, of course, doesn’t count states where gun owners with a carry permit can skip the background check process if they present their valid carry license.

The NSSF estimates the number was about 18.5 million. Either way, the best estimates of the actual number of firearms sold in 2021 were less than half the bogus total McIntyre and MSN reported. I’ll await a correction with breathless anticipation.

Another day, another junk news report thrown on the misinformation trash heap. And the media wonder why only 9% of Americans had “a great deal” of trust in them in 2020.

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  1. Weird thing is…as large as that number of 8+ million seems, Los Angeles County all by itself has more people. That’s how crowded we are here, and just how outnumbered LE would be if the balloon ever went up and society went sideways.

  2. Too bad the figures aren’t accurate. We need another 500,000,000 guns in circulation. The more guns there are, the more afraid the gun grabbers will be to come find them. They need to believe that every citizen over the age of 10 had hundreds of weapons at his disposal.

  3. I dunno Boch…there’s a helluva lot of gats floating around Chiraq! And Cook county.

    • Probably true–but that number, absent a giant number of buybacks and trade-ins– is far larger by accretion than the number sold last year with a NICS check.

  4. Let their idiot stats stand… Perhaps it’ll make “their” master plan to ban anything/everything that shoots seem even more impossible.

  5. Let the numbers be as reported. And let the anti-gunners come up with a plan to confiscate 400,000,000+ legally owned firearms. Heck, let them come up with a safe plan to confiscate just the 8,000,000 guns legally sold in Ill-noise in 2021.

    • Firearms industry already thinks we passed 420 million BEFORE the “defund the police”/Fauci’s Flu induced panic buys. I think we might be at 500 million now.

  6. Still doesn’t make any sense.

    If “it turns out the number of gun sales for Illinois last year was just over 528,000”, “And the NICS background check system is used for much more than just gun sales (think concealed carry permit renewals)”, even assuming “every FOID cardholder (about 2.4M)” has a CCW and had to renew it in the same year, that only adds up to less than 3M.

    How the hell did they get 8.4M (over 4x as much as Texas, a much more gun-friendly state with over twice as many people)?

    • They get the 8.4 million number because Illinois does background checks on both FOID and FCCL’s every day except major holidays whether or not you purchase a firearm.

      • That’s a more effective refutation of McIntyre’s claims than the whole article put together.

  7. While it’s always fun to have a laugh when someone who thinks they know it all gets something wrong, I’m not really inclined to put any effort into debunking this one.

  8. No “journalist” entered that job in many years because they had smarts. But their hour likely are better than street walking.

    Maths be hard.

  9. When I admit that I know nothing, that is the beginning of wisdom.

    When I start lecturing other people on all the stuff I know nothing about, that is the beginning of journalism.

    • “When I admit that I know nothing, that is the beginning of wisdom.
      When I start lecturing other people on all the stuff I know nothing about, that is the beginning of journalism.”

      Keeping this one, especially as I invented the doublet.

  10. Don’t think only one side did this. Plenty of gun people make the same mistake. They conflate the total NICS checks with the amount of guns sold.

  11. Some people (*some* people) literally cannot tell you how many firearms they own.
    Because they lost count at some point, and bringing them all out to count them, would take all damn day.

    • im not really sure either
      id have to think about it
      its definitely more than the amount of my fingers and toes

    • My wife asked me if i thought i had more than X… I think i said something along the lines of “i probably had more than that when you met me 10 years ago…”

  12. the vast majority of the media in america hasnt been right
    – or told the truth about anything –
    in almost 7 years
    it will be our undoing

  13. I will be contributing to the NICS count in a couple months. Carry permit is due for renewal in a couple months. Even if we do get constitutional carry pushed through this year, I will still get a permit. Still need a permit for travel etc.
    Amusing how a simple thing like accurate information seems to be beyond the grasp of so called journalists/reporters. And how easily anyone who cares to do so can pull up the correct information in about 30 seconds.

  14. “California (1,476,073)”

    Our buddy, Haz, says he has been building his own, but the numbers tell a different story.

  15. Establishment media: Only a small portion of the populace owns guns
    Also establishment media: In just one year, enough guns were sold in a single state to arm half the population

    • Ah yes… the cherished survey that established “suepr-owners”
      Except that many of us don’t even answer surveys.
      the link talks about 7.7 million people with an average of 17 guns each… I am my own small village, but i wouldn’t answer their survey if they called.

    • That survey is 6 years old. We have already established that we just had over 8 million first time gun buyers in one year. Also, as Dan said, people tend to not answer surveys regarding firearm ownership.

      so the current buying craze did not enhance the political power of the far right.

      Why are you associating gun purchases and the “political power of the far right”? This isn’t about politics, it’s about civil rights.

  16. If it were not for electricity we would all be watching TV by candlelight———–Marjorie Taylor Greene, the cream of the Republican Party.

  17. The panic buying resulted in such a scarcity of ammo that the guns that are out there are now about as useless as square wheels on an automobile, but the military still has all the ammo it needs to keep the population in control.

    “Power comes from the barrel of a gun” so said Mao Zedong, meaning the military has the most firepower.

    And only 32% of the American population own guns anymore mostly because of the drastic decline in hunting because of a shift in cultural norms and the vast expansion of suburbia and megalopolis.

    • So we got a higher percentage of ownership over the years and overwhelmingly concealable pistols and “assault weapons” in recent sales. I think your argument needs work. Also lol ammo scarcity it’s back and prices are coming down.

    • That’s cute you think the military has more firepower than civilians because we are all out of ammunition. You keep on thinking that, Bud. I checked my spreadsheet a few days ago and I figure I should be ok as long as I don’t have to carry it all out of the basement in one day.

      Does the military have superior weapon technology? Sure they do. But armies don’t march on empty stomachs, drones don’t fly on empty tanks, and if my family is threatened by them so are theirs.

  18. What about the people that actually realized that the police were not going to be there for them, so went out and purchased some defense of their own?

  19. Love this remark: “Very few people who go through this check are denied permission to purchase weapons”. That’s like saying sober people always pass drunk driving test. Only lawful people go through NICS. The crooks go through Nikko. Also, “guns sold before 1998 are not included in the FBI number, nor are guns bought illegally, so even the agency’s number may be low” How do you know what the numbers of either one are? Might as well have said if we add the made numbers for crimes that happened in the past and crimes that we do not know of, the current number would be so much higher. oooh boy!

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