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The November NICS background checks broke the record for the nineteenth month in a row. 2016 has become the year with the most gun sales ever. The 2016 NICS checks have surpassed those for 2015, the previous record holder. In November, 2016 the FBI completed 2,561,281 National Instant Checks.  In 2015, the Fibbers processed2,243,030.

In 2015, the total NICS checks for the year were 23,141,970. In 2016, through November, they were 24,767,514. That’s 1,625,544 more than the total for 2015, with the biggest month, December, 2016, yet to happen. Last year there were 19,827,376 by the end of November. 2016 is nearly five million ahead of that record pace.

2016 is 25 percent ahead of where 2015 was at this time. If this pace continues, 2016 will end up a little short of 29 million background checks for the year. It is already the record breaking year of all time.

The common wisdom is that with the election of Donald Trump, the record breaking pace of NICS checks would slow. The price of gun manufacturing stocks has tumbled. But there are contrary indicators.

First, consumer confidence is soaring as we enter the Christmas season. Second, heightened gun sales have been reported for some minority groups. Third, many gun retailers have put product on sale, in anticipation of a drop in demand.

My prediction is that December will be a record breaking month, but not by a very large margin. The total NICS checks for 2016 will be between 28.8 and 29 million.

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.

NICS covers more than new firearms sales  They apply to used firearms — when trade-ins are sold at gun shops or when used guns are sold at gun shows.  Many states also require NICS for 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 exactly how many guns have been added to the private stock in 2016 until late January, 2018. The numbers will not be reported to the ATF until the end of 2016. The ATF is required by law to hold them from public view for a year, to prevent proprietary information from being released..

Given the NICS numbers, there will probably be 17+ million guns added to the private stock in 2016. That would increase the total number to 405 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 Barack Obama presidency. The increase will likely be 97 million firearms. We will have to wait for 2018 to determine a more precise number.

I expect December NICs to be  3.3 to 3.5 million.

Many indicators show a soaring and  diverse level of gun ownership. Carry permits are burgeoning, approaching 15 million and more. Gun ownership among women and minorities is at an all time high.

Who would have thought that President Barack Obama would be the record-setting, all-time champion, gun salesman? The total NICS checks will reach over 253 million by years end. That will be over 153 million firearms added to the private stock in the last 18 years. Over 37 percent of the private firearms stock will be less than 18 years old.

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

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  1. I’ve acquired more guns this year than any other but only the 2 new ones required a background check. I bought both of the new ones since the election. I guess they counted the one I bought in November and will count the one I bought in December at the end of the month.

  2. Ok. So… more guns! Good.

    What I think is more important is the number of gun OWNERS. More gun owners means more political leverage for repeal of existing infringements and resistance to new ones.

    Illinois continues to increase its FOID card numbers. Indisputable evidence that Illinois has more law-abiding gun OWNERS than ever before.

    So Dean, I would appreciate some reporting on the other states that require some sort of permit to own a firearm. How are those numbers? That is the sort of data that is sure to frustrate the left.

  3. I did my bit with 2 checks. I’m aiming for several more next year…and yeah Bury Soetoro is the gunsalesman of the century-bless his black irredeemable heart?

  4. Man, that 3% of gun owners are just ravenous, aren’t they? After all, just 3% own over 50% of all the firearms in the US…

    • I don’t buy ammo.
      Ok, I buy 12 gauge target loads, only because Wally World sells it cheaper than I can reload it.

      Otherwise, well, it’s winter. So, time to stock up on powder, primers and bullets, and get that reloading press humming!

      • Curtis,

        I cannot justify the time to reload … nor the $800+ initial investment. And then there is the problem of making space (which I do not have) for a reloading bench.

        For the time being, I am happy purchasing ammunition in bulk on sale. I have managed to find popular calibers (.223 Remington, 7.62x39mm, 9mm, 20 gauge, and 12 gauge) for very close to $0.20 per round. At that price reloading doesn’t make any sense to me.

        I guess reloading might make sense if I were shooting over a thousand rounds of .44 Magnum or rifle calibers like .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, or .30-06 Springfield. But I don’t. (And if I did, I would shoot 7.62 x 54R!) And I have heard that hand loading is nearly mandatory for extremely precise and long range shooting. I don’t do that, either.

        Do you do it for cost savings or more for the hobby factor?

        • I am a tightwad. I do it to save money. My wife likes to do repeated mag dumps with her 18 round Springfield XDm 9mm and I can’t afford to feed that habit by buying retail.

          Also, I have a plentiful supply of free brass at the outdoor range where I go.

          For 9mm it’s a 9 cent bullet, a 3 cent primer and maybe 3 cents worth of powder. Strictly plinking ammo, I’ll load a couple thousand rounds this winter and it should last me the year. For .357 magnum the bullet might cost 11 cents and the powder maybe 5 cents.

          As far as rifle ammo – You can find deals on cheap ammo but it’s not accurate. You can buy accurate ammo but it’s not cheap. I can reload 5.56 with a 17 cent Hornady V-Max bullet, 8 cents worth of powder and a 3 cent primer. You may be able to find .223/5.56 ammo for about the same price but it won’t group like my handloads.

          Handloading is not for everyone. The economics of reloading depend on three factors:
          1) Sourcing the primers and powder at a decent price without paying hazmat fees.
          2) Free brass
          3) Assigning a low hourly rate to your time.

        • I reload because its fun and I can control my loads a lot more accurately than off the shelf. I can loan plink loads and save quite a bit when my boys want to go to the range which is pretty often and they just like to destroy targets and sometimes they even let me come along. I load 223, 45, 38sp, 9mm, 243, 270, 7.7jap, 8mm, 30.06, 300wm, 357. I may have forgotten some but being retired I’m allowed. Anyway to load or not to load is all personal preference as far as I’m concerned. Do I save money , probably not when you consider all the money I have tied up in dies and other gear and supplies but who cares because I’m smiling the whole time I’m down stairs in my redneck corner.

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