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The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) continued to record near-record numbers in July. During the 2016 election cycle, the fear of a Clinton presidency pushed gun sales and, correspondingly, NICS background checks to an all-time record high.

Many people thought sales and NICS checks would crater once President Trump was elected. But both sales and NICS numbers only fell back a small amount. 2017 was the second-highest year on record for NICS checks.

Over half way through 2018, the 2018 NICS checks are trending higher than 2017. July, 2018 NICS checks totaled 1,835,318. In 2017, year-to-date NICS checks through July were 14,343,658. For the same period in 2018 NICS checks totaled 15,128,636. In the all-time record year of 2016, NICS checks through July were 16,026,660.

The 2018 total is 94% of the 2016 total.

These near-record NICS checks numbers don’t necessarily reflect near record gun sales. More and more NICS checks are being used for carry permits and permit renewals.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has been able to subtract out checks done for carry permits and carry permit re-checks. Using that information, checks done for firearm sales are down 9.5% from the 2017 figures.

The NSSF adjusted chart shows adjusted NICS checks for July close to 2012 – 2014 levels.

The NICS checks have historically indicated about one NICS check for about .6 firearms added to the private stock in the United States. NICS checks are also done for sales of used firearms. And, one NICS check can be done for multiple firearms purchased at the same time. In addition, in half the states, once a person receives a carry permit, the permit can serve in lieu of another NICS check.

The number of carry permit holders in the United States is currently over 16 million people. This can be seen in the rising number of permit checks and permit re-checks done in the NICS system. Again, many of those permit holders don’t have to undergo a NICS check for gun purchases.

If the .6 number holds, the number of guns added to the private stock in July would have been about 1.1 million. That would bring the total private stock in the US to about 427 million firearms. If the trend continues, there will be about 432 million firearms in private hands by the end of the year.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

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  1. The following is from Ruger’s earnings press release last week “The estimated unit sell-through of the Company’s products from the independent distributors to retailers decreased 1% in the first half of 2018 from the comparable prior year period. For the same period, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System background checks (as adjusted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation) decreased 3%. The slight decrease in estimated sell-through of the Company’s products from the independent distributors to retailers is attributable to decreased overall consumer demand in the first half of 2018”

  2. I pulled the NICS numbers a couple of days ago and was surprised by the strong 2018 numbers. Year over year the cumulative number of NICS checks through July, 2018 is the second highest year on record.

  3. NICS checks & balances = the more guns in the hands of good guys seems to me , is a win for POTG. Now if they would put the insane in check , maybe we would get somewhere. Just sayin !!

    • … and the criminals in jail. You keep criminals away from guns the same way you keep criminals away from the rest of us.

      Liberals think criminals shouldn’t have guns. Conservatives and libertarians think criminals shouldn’t have anything. Except maybe a 10×6 patch of concrete and a stainless steel toilet.

  4. I was informed by the Fake News that Trump’s victory meant imminent demise for the firearms industry, and that almost all new guns sales were attributable to 3% of gun owners. Man, that 3% must have deep pockets.

    • Yea and the 3% is old white dudes not unlike myself who happen to be NRA members…..chew on that you pinko commie aho’s.


  5. According to the Democrat propaganda machine {MSM} only 50 OFWG “super owners are buying millions of guns at a time (evil fully-semi-automatic assault weapons)
    Gun ownership is decreasing, dontcha know.

  6. America is arming itself. This is a significant demographic shift that shows every sign of continuing. The social consequences of this change are clearly evident. A couple of decades ago, the Sutherland Springs church shooter would likely have gotten away, driven down the road possibly stopping to kill more people in the small country churches along the way. Only he didn’t because a good guy with a gun stopped him. We’re also seeing more privately armed citizens stop criminal acts well before the police arrive. In earlier years, these kinds of citizen-actions would have most likely not occurred. But now they are and, what’s more, they are unlikely to diminish.

    The prevalence of armed private-citizens acting to confront crime is going to place new demands on law enforcement to change it’s training and officer expectations to include armed private-citizens at crime scenes. Similarly, I suspect that in one way or another, the legal rights of armed private-citizens will, of necessity, have to be revised to incorporate the kinds of implied immunity currently granted to police officers.

  7. I did my share, and next month I’m going to do my share again. Because I’m patriotic. And also because it pisses-off the Democrats.

  8. On the one hand, I’m not worried about the Executive branch attacking the Second Amendment for the next six years, so I shouldn’t need more firearms. On the other hand, Trump is amazing for the economy, so I’ve got lots of money for more firearms. Winning!

  9. Considering NICS has been down for almost 24 hours now, there will be a little drop this month.

    Looks like they were going to have some type of maintenance this morning for 5 or 6 hours and they’ve been down ever since.
    Both ez (on-line) and phone were down.

  10. I’m on with MaknBakn. I’ve added 3 to the collection already, bout ready to add 2 more
    by the end of the year… 2ccw

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