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While the NSSF’s adjusted March NICS background check numbers indicate fewer guns sold in 2022 than the same month in 2020 or 2021, look at the 2022 total versus prior years. March 2022 sales were substantially higher than the pre-Covid/George Floyd surge monthly totals by a significant margin.

The NSSF’s Mark Oliva tells TTAG that . . .

Anecdotal reports of reports of increased interest in firearm purchases following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proved to be true as we saw background check figures for firearm sales increase by more than 300,000 from February’s adjusted figure of 1,352,105 to March’s 1,669,578. That continues the streak of more than 1 million background checks for the sale of a firearm for 32 months. These figures show month-after-month that Americans, by the millions, don’t just speak about the value of their Second Amendment rights. They act on it.  

Here’s the NSSF’s press release . . .

The March 2022 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,669,578 is a decrease of 18.3 percent compared to the March 2021 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 2,044,136For comparison, the unadjusted March 2022 FBI NICS figure 3,014,465 reflects a 35.1 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 4,645,609 in March 2021.

The March 2022 figures are the third strongest for the month on record, surpassed by March 2021 and March 2020.

The first quarter 2022 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 4,212,539 reflects a decrease of 23.2 percent compared to the 5,483,342 figure for first quarter 2021, which remains the highest first-quarter on record.

March 2022 NICS background checks by state

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.

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. 

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27 COMMENTS

  1. biden finally hit on a formula to disarm Americans. Tank the economy so badly that no one can afford guns. Or gas. Or food. Or rent……….

    • Some people are saying that President Biden is even more anti-gun than I am, believe me!

        • I’ve noticed that you talk real tough behind a computer screen.

        • avatar Geoff "A day without an obsessed, obviously brain-damaged and mentally-ill demented troll (who deserves to live in New Jersey) PR

          “I’ve noticed that you talk real tough behind a computer screen.”

          Says the chickenshit that hides behind user names.

          No surprise, using a name requires functional testicles, something a scared little boy knows nothing about.

          Right, PeeGee2? TTAG’s own doofus 🤡… 😉

  2. The only part of this process that gives any of it any level of credibility is that these numbers DO NOT reflect things being sold that don’t have a serial number.

    • WA State Gov Inslee just signed a magazine ban limiting capacity to 10 rounds or less. There is a grandfather allowing possession for above 10 rounds possessed prior to July 1, 2022. Impossible to enforce unless law enforcement catches you transferring, importing banned magazines after that date. Thus, sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds likely has a graphed curve more impressive than firearm purchases in WA. Let’s go Inslee!

      • Impossible to enforce

        Hard to catch you, but easy to keep WA or online stores from selling to you. You can make road trips, obviously, but it’s not that hard to remove most obstructions anyway. Prohibition is rarely successful; prohibition on the honor system barely rises above the level of inconvenience.

        P.S. Some of the article’s stats are bizarre.

        • No, NICS is not required for a magazine purchase, transfer or import in WA before or after new law. If they catch you buying, selling, importing or transferring after the law goes into effect your a criminal. I suppose if they can prove you didn’t possess them before July 1 your a criminal.

        • @Magbuyguy
          Then I’m not sure what your saying.

          It is interesting though that in so many places like the state I live in that you can buy a 30 rounder at Academy off a store peg as if it were a package of bubble gum. No one bats an eye. It is truly a shame it has to be that way in places like Washington.

    • 𝑫𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒏 𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒚? 𝑻𝒉𝒂𝒕’𝒔 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝑰 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒋𝒐𝒃 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑵𝒐𝒘 𝑰 𝒂𝒎 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 $200 𝒕𝒐 $300 𝒑𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒒𝒘𝒆03 𝒅𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒉𝒐𝒎𝒆.
      𝑨𝒑𝒑𝒍𝒚 𝑵𝒐𝒘 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆__________ 𝑾𝑾𝑾.𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌𝒃𝒛.𝑪𝑶𝑴

  3. Looking to buy another gun or 2. It has to be a deal. Yeah the slow Joe inflation ain’t helping. I do NOT blame Russia!

    • I just scored on a 1972 build Marlin 444 at a steal price because the owner couldnt find cases, primers, or factory ammo for it for the past 4 years. I’m down to less than 100 cases for it and a couple thousand suitable primers, now I just need to find some H335 to put in front of custom cast 360 grainers. I might start looking for more distress stories and hope the ammo situation sorts itself out, or I won’t be quite the wheeler-dealer that I now fancy myself to be at the moment.

  4. .omma erom beeN

    .elas rof bemmir W&S 23. 01 dna citamotua 23. fo xob flah a dah eh, srelddoc eohs a ot tneW

  5. I did a search for historical figures. Nov 1998 thru Mar 2022 here: https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/nics_firearm_checks_-_month_year.pdf/view

    419,804,278 NICS checks total.

    Of course, all the caveats apply: not every background check results in a gun sale, not all gun sales require a background check, there is no way to know how many of those are first time gun buyers, yada yada yada.

    All the same, .419 billion background checks are a LOT!! How long until 1/2 billion, I wonder? 3 years, maybe? 2 years if sales continue to rise?

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