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.