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Well that didn’t take long. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has been busy crunching the FBI’s NICS background check numbers for last month and they’re already out with their estimate of how many gun sales took place in November. The answer: a lot. Almost 2 million, an increase of more than 45% over November, 2019.

According to the NSSF’s sales data, 541,000 guns were sold in the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday alone. That’s a 14% bump over the same period last year.

The NSSF’s Mark Oliva had this to say about the ongoing buying boom:

November background checks are in line with what we’ve seen all year long. Americans continue to purchase firearms at record pace for a variety of reasons, including concerns for personal safety, onerous gun control plans by a Biden-Harris administration and for lawful purposes including recreational shooting, hunting and self-defense.

The fact that the pace of these sales hasn’t slowed since March shows Americans value their Second Amendment freedoms and will exercise the right to keep and bear arms at their choosing. Politicians looking for a mandate on firearms should examine the record setting figures Americans are posting every month with firearm sales.

Americans have told their elected representatives more than 19 million times exactly where their voters stand when it comes to their rights, more than 7.5 million making that declaration publicly for the first time in their lives.

Here’s the NSSF’s press release on the data. Note that the NSSF’s sales estimate doesn’t take into account sales in 25 states where concealed carry permit holders can bypass a NICS check. That means the actual number of November gun sales was far in excess of 2 million firearms.

The November 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,949,141 is an increase of 45.2 percent compared to the November 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,342,155. For comparison, the unadjusted November 2020 FBI NICS figure 3,602,296 reflects a 41.5 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,545,863 in November 2019. 

The year-to-date total of 19.1 million adjusted background checks continues to add to a record-setting year for firearm sales. The previous complete annual record of 15.7 million background checks was set in 2016. NSSF retailer surveys estimate that nearly 7.7 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2020.

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. Michigan had law changes that affected their Brady Law standing which removed qualifying alternate permits usage for firearm transactions. These changes went into effect March 3, 2020. NSSF-adjusted NICS for the state of Michigan in November 2020 were 118.1 percent higher than November 2019 which accounts for an additional 40,454 checks over the same time period.

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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      • We all know where there are billions of rounds of popular ammo. Lake City. You just gotta get past the security. Or know somebody on the inside.

      • VERY glad I stocked up during the Trump slump and have enough to carry me for a few years. I did it just in case of this very situation, which I only *half* seriously thought might happen.

        • its funny. i thought i had stocked up. but now that we’re at this point all i can think of is all the cases of 9mm for $169 that i passed up just a few months ago. sad 🙁

          on the bright side, after 2012 i amassed more 22 that i will probably shoot in my life time so i guess there’s still fun to be had

      • The 2020 gun/ammo shortage kinda makes me thankful for the 2012 shortage. It gave us a glimpse of what could happen, and we’ve had years to prepare.

        I don’t have as much ammo as I would like, but I have a lot more than I did back in 2012.

    • I live across the road from federally licensed dealer/gun range. He’s the only guy with ammo for literally hundreds of miles. He seems to be able to get casings, bullets, primers, and powder delivered on a regular basis. He has four guys in his shop cranking out ammo. I have purchased several boxes of .38 +P, 180 gr .44 mag, and even .357 Sig over the last two weeks (but I’ve been waiting some time on .357 magnum). He’s got .40 cal and .223 as well. And I don’t pay the outrageous online prices (but the cost per round is definitely higher than a year ago). Even the local Sheriff buys from him. A few weeks ago he took an order from a large metropolitan police force.

      When I ask him how he does it, he just smiles and asks if he should stop. In response, I hand over my cash and just say “thank you.”

      And no, I’m not going to tell you who it is.

      • I found .357 in a gun shop in Salt Lake City over the holiday. They had rifles, including the dread ar14, and handguns. Ammo was there. The old paper wrapped 20 round packets of 7.62×54 that I used to get for 2 buxck a pack are now 15. x39 was 15 per 20. I also got some .38 special.

        Firearms where there. But I saw not one defensive shotgun for sale. Only hunting models.

        • Pump Action and Semiautomatic Shotguns are tied with MSRs in popularity based on Sales……….

          Mossberg is at the top too.

    • Try 2023-2024. Not kidding. The largest producers have backorders through 2023. Capacity is very difficult and slow to increase. Foreign producers are available and import permits are being approved in record numbers. That’s really our best hope to take some pressure off the market.

      • There’s also the question of if they’ll bother to increase capacity since the last time they did that in response to political shenanigans they got burned.

        If ammo makers don’t see a reason to believe that increased demand is here to stay for the long term it’s unlikely that they will move to remedy the problem in the short term.

        And, if we’re honest do we really believe that the current demand for ammo will stay where it is this year for the longer term?

      • JWT, is this because of the scope mount crack? 🙂
        I definitely believe this is going to be a long ride, might not always be dry but the cost i don’t think will come down for a long time, if it does at all.

        Thank goodness Walmart did their “we don’t wanna sell ammo anymore” bit, that was good times for cheap ammo.

  1. Well, that will intensify the REEEEEEEEEEEEE across a number of fronts.

    The $agro loop is probably going to run away on us here.

  2. The numbers of arms sales don’t bode well for the civilian disarmament Marxist’s selling their agenda.

    • The likely reasons behind those sales numbers don’t bode well for anyone. Especially in combination with other things that are selling at insane rates.

        • It gets a hell of a lot uglier for most people because their closest experience to any real violence is watching the news or a romanticized version in a movie.

    • Disarmament was administratively impossible a decade ago. It’s never going to happen, and the gun grabbers have only made it worse for themselves.

  3. Quoting the article, “The NSSF’s Mark Oliva had this to say about the ongoing buying boom:

    November background checks are in line with what we’ve seen all year long. Americans continue to purchase firearms at record pace for a variety of reasons, including concerns for personal safety, onerous gun control plans by a Biden-Harris administration and for lawful purposes including recreational shooting, hunting and self-defense.”

    Perhaps Mark misspoke, but resistance to onerous gun control is ALSO a legal reason to purchase a gun(s). In fact it may be the most supremely lawful reason to buy firearms, particularly “weapons of war”. Just going off what America’s founders wrote and said, and did.

  4. We have only had NICS for a tiny fraction of the time we’ve had guns. I consider it a mistake for either side to read too much into these numbers. But one thing is quite clear. The American population does understand the need for guns. Regardless of their politics.. my only question is wether or not people are waking up to the connection between the two.

    • Yep, liked the old version better, especially the way the comments displayed, but creative control is not within my domain in this domain.

  5. This site format sucks. Another example of change for the sake of change. If it ain’t fucking broke don’t fucking fix it.

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