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In the (almost) six months since Donald Trump took office, the FBI has completed 12,601,102 NICS checks. Comparing that stat monthly . . .

NICS checks for June, 2017 clocked in at 1,901,768. That’s the second highest number of NICS checks for any June on record, just below 2016’s 2,131,485 checks. The third highest June was in 2015 ( at 1,529,057 checks). Both of those years were informed by fears that President Obama would usher in significant gun control measures.

As always, note that there isn’t a one-to-one relationship between NICS checks and firearms sales. The FBI’s background check system is also used for silencer sales, background checks on teachers and other government employees, concealed carry license checks, firearms transfers, and more.

The average NICS-to-new gun sales ratio is a little less than .6 checks per firearm. By that calculation, over 7.5 million firearms were added to the private stock in the first half of 2017. If the economy continues to pick up, 2017 could become a record year for NICS checks.

The firearms industry’s vitality reflects an expanded base of firearms owners, and demand sustained by political concerns.

The number of Americans with concealed/open carry licenses continues to soar. The U.S. is home to over 15 million permit holders. In many states, they account for anywhere from five to 15 percent of voters, including crucial swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Fear of violence from the radical left — as has been on display in bastions of tolerance and harmony like Berkley, Portland, the District of Columbia, and San Francisco — may also be fueling firearm sales/NICS checks by both newbies and established gun owners. This, at the same time that the demonstrators and their left wing #resistance types are reportedly tooling up, too.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

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  1. The thing we are seeing in my little corner of the world is less multiple buys.

    It used to be the guy buying a new shotgun or pistol would toss in that $50 Anderson receiver along with it, because they had to pay the background check anyway right? Not so much now. So in our shop, still number of transactions is roughly the same, but the number of guns sold is down a bit.

    Not really seeing a spike in the number of CCW holders that can bypass the check,but that might be up slightly.

  2. Not 100% on topic, but a clustered bar chart would be better than a combo bar/line chart for this. This is a comparison of a set of discrete data points. With a clustered bar chart, you’re able to compare the height of the bars side by side for each month instantly.

    A combo chart might be good if you wanted to show something like this year’s monthly NICS checks vs five year averages. Show this year’s data as bars and the averages as a line. In this case, below or above the line is probably a more interesting question than side by side comparison.

  3. Not so sure what’s up. Wanted a new gun, tried to trade in an LCR that had only about 100 rounds through it. They wanted nothing to do with it, they’re flush with guns and can’t give ’em away. I sold it privately for about 3x what the dealer offered, and bought the new gun with about a 20% discount because hey, they told me they can’t give guns away right now, right?

    This wasn’t a mom n pop shop, this was a big store with major online presence.

    And at my local Academy, they’ve got 22LR coming out of their ears. Bricks everywhere, even 1400-round Remington buckets. Mini-mags, Stingers, everything, at decent prices.

    I don’t know what’s up with NICS, but it looks like a total buyer’s market out there.

    • “a total buyer’s market” – That might be what’s up with NICS right now. I’ve seen some low prices that have rebates in addition and thought “I need to buy this now.” If I had a larger disposable income, I would probably be tempted into buying a lot of stuff just because I couldn’t come up with an answer to “why not.”

      • That is exactly what’s happening. I keep saying it every month when Dean posts these numbers. It’s no mystery why gun sales are still going strong, even though the feared Clinton presidency didn’t happen. Lots of guns are cheaper now than they have been in a decade or more. The glut in the AR market has prices down to just about as low as they can possibly go without manufacturers actually losing money, at least for basic, entry-level rifles. Everybody’s got rebates on pistols right now. It should be no surprise that, in a buyer’s market, buyers are buying.

        • I wish I had as much discretionary income as I had last year right now. (I’m self employed, so personal finances are a bit of a roller coaster). I’d be buying handguns and silencers like crazy.

  4. I’m in for June. A 1911 guy bought himself a S&W shield. What a nice little gun. July will see a trifecta of CZ rimfires.

  5. Sister got her first gun (Shield thanks to rebate. She can always borrow our dad’s 22s so little need for her own right now) in June.

    I haven’t gotten anything that needed a check this year. Spent plenty on ammo and accessories though. Got 3 last year, but that was to fill holes in case Hillary stole the election. Might change if I see a nice 22 rifle I want.

  6. Didn’t buy a gun in June but I got a holster,2 magazines and a bunch of ammo. My local gun store has a ton of great sales so I concur it’s great to be a buyer…

  7. Actually I think it’s high because of fear of the Trump tyranny. More and more liberals are getting guns.

    • It’s called transference. The left is afraid because of what they would like to do if Hillary was in power.

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