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Gun sales for October continued their record-breaking pace. It’s now virtually assured that 2016 will be America’s biggest gun sales year in history. The 2016 NICS checks are far ahead of those for 2015, the previous record holder.

In October 2016, the FBI processed 2,333,539 background checks — compared to October 2015’s 1,976,759. The total NICS checks for the previous year: 23,141,970. In 2016, through October, the FBI processed some 22,206,233 checks. That’s less than 1 million below the total for 2015, with the two biggest sales months in 2016 remaining.

The numbers are 26.3% ahead of where 2015 was at this time. If this pace continues, 2016 will finish with 29.2 million background checks for the year.

The FBI performs gun dealer-requested NICS checks for new and used firearms. The Fibbers also run background checks when gun shops sell trade-ins and when used guns are sold by dealers at gun shows. States uses the system to run background checks on applicants for gun carry permits (which are also breaking records every month). In most states, once a person has a carry permit, further NICS checks are not required to purchase a firearm.

We won’t know the number of guns added to America’s arsenal of democracy in until late January, 2018. The ATF is required by law to hold the sta from public view for a year, to prevent proprietary information from being released (manufacturers would dearly love to know exactly how many guns of certain models and calibers their competitors are selling).

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. In the last 18 years, Americans have added 150 million firearms to the private stock. Over 37 percent of the private firearms stock is now less than 18 years old.

Given the NICS numbers, there will probably be 17 to 18 million guns added to the private stock in 2016. That would increase the total number to 405 – 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 percent, during the two terms of the Obama presidency. To reach that number, the FBI will have to perform seven million more NICs checks from 1 November to 31 December 2016.  (In 2015, 5.56 million NICS checks were processed in that period.)

If Hillary Clinton is elected in a week, I predict that we will exceed that number. If Donald Trump is elected, NICS checks will drop. How much is uncertain.

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

Gun Watch

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  1. There is, indeed, a lot hinging on this election in less than a week. I hope firearms manufacturers have
    contingency plans in place for either eventuality. The 8 year boom may go bust, if things go well, IMHO.

    • I am launching an online ammunition store this week, and I am seeing a lot of pre-order demand (shameless plug: click my name to go to my store –

      That said, regardless of the election results, I personally believe the demand will still be there. Maybe not as much, but I am still confident in the demand. The world is a crazy place, and likely to remain that way for quite some time.

  2. TTAG’s excerpt:
    The 2016 NICS checks are far ahead of those for 2015, the previous record holder. In October 2016, the FBI processed 2,333,539 background checks — compared to October 2015’s 1,976,759. The total NICS checks for the previous year: 23,141,970. […]
    Let’s hope that’s the number of voters who will vote to “keep to their gun rights intact , and preserve the 2nd amendment !!!” Let’s prove the “TASS news services” wrong with their spindoctored polls !!!!

  3. What a great statistic: in 2016 5.56 million NICS checks. Get it? 5.56? The AR lives! Of course the Democrats, and in particular the threat of the Clinton Crime Family getting back into the Whitehouse, have encouraged us to buy guns and ammo while we can. To be sure, I bought two guns I do not need this year: S&W Shield 9mm and a Ruger American Ranch in 5.56. The latter was a practical move. In the event the Hildabeast were to put in place a “buy back” of AR’s (aka “confiscation with compensation”), I’ll still have a rifle to shoot 5.56 and .223, of which I have an OK supply.

  4. A curious chart to circulate would be to estimate how much lower the trend would have been minus any gun control BS, like if you went back pre Obummer and looked at the slope and extrapolated it vs the actual slope.

    Just by being the monstrous douches they are, the anti gun people have increased the number of guns in citizens hands by 5X?, 10X? vs had they just done nothing.

  5. “Consensus that nobody needs guns” – When fellow citizens vote 150 million times to have their own guns, but they don’t have your email, so they don’t count.

  6. I don’t trust either of them. I pray for the future of The United States either way. But IF Pantsuit Von Pervenabler gets in, I pray for the future of the Republic of Texas that may arise from the ashes.

  7. Welp. I cast my ballot today. It didn’t go how I planned. I actually feel physically ill. Here’s hoping it mattered.

    I wish I had the funds for a gun or two instead. :p

    Maybe I should finally pick up a stripped lower. Insurance.

  8. Wow, that’s pretty impressive considering my miserable contributions this year, one rifle, one pistol, one enormously expensive scope.

  9. I wish I could add to that line. I suspect that if everyone in the country who wanted a gun could draw on a fund that would pay for it, there wouldn’t be enough stock in the world to cover the demand, and if there were magically enough in stock the sales for the year would have been on the order of fifty million.

    I keep hoping some patriotic group will come up with a fund to pay all but fifty dollars for a self-defense weapon for anyone who doesn’t have a good one. Without that, guns are de facto something for those doing well financially, which in the current economic situation is just a small slice of the country.

  10. Damn ! Look at all these free staters…Buying all these pistols, rifles, and shotguns through an indifferent background check..Like this is a free country, or something! Hell, in my state the local pd is strictly licensing “sticks and stones”!

  11. Haven’t bought anything but ammo and a pellet gun for a couple of years now.. Going to buy more ammo before that stupid assed CA ammo law takes effect.

  12. Huh, that’s odd. Gun sales are up, way up, but my shop sure hasn’t seen it. Where’s our piece of the pie? It’s been one of our slowest years ever, leading up to the election. And we know it has nothing to do with bad customer service, which is why a lot of gun stores don’t make it. What gives?

    Be sure to support your LGS!

  13. I did my part. Ruger SR9c on October 30. It was my birthday present to myself. I have an Alien Gear holster due in the mail today, and range time planned this weekend to break in the Ruger and get familiar. Then a trip to Cheyenne to get the standard capacity (17 round) magazines I can’t legally own in Colorado.
    And I only wish this were a state where a CHP excused me from an NICS


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