Saturday, March 05, 2016

NICS Background Checks indicate record Numbers of Firearms Sold in February, 2016

2016 is well on the way to being a record year for firearm sales in the United States.  In the first two months of the year, records were set for the number of National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS for short.  In January, there were 2,545,802 NICS checks, surpassing the last record in January of 2013, of 2,495,440.  The next highest January was in 2015, with 1,772,794, in 2015.  Both of the highest records are associated with highly publicised pushes for more gun control legislation by President Obama.

February of 2016 resulted in an even higher record, of 2,613,074.  Only two months in the history of the NICS system, from November or 1998, had a higher number of NICS checks.  Those were in December of 2012 (2,783,765) and December of 2015 (3,314,594).  It is hard to beat the combination of uncertainty of future gun regulations and Christmas.

2015 was the highest number of background checks ever for a year, 23,141,970.  In the first 60 days of 2016, we have had 5,158,87.  With 2016 being both a presidential election year, and a leap year, it is easy to predict that the year will be a record breaker for firearms sales. 

There is a high correlation between NICS checks and the increase in private firearms stocks. In 2013, the last record year, one NICS check corresponded to .76 new private firearms. 2014 and 2015 are both very similar to 2013 in the number of NICS checks.  The .76 ratio was used to extrapolate the increase in private firearms during those years.

The actual increase in the private stock in previous years comes from figures that are reported by the ATF. Those numbers are the number of firearms manufactured in the United States (excluding those for the military) plus imports, minus exports. The numbers for 2014 should be available fairly soon; it will be about a year before the 2015 numbers will be ready.

It is likely that the private firearms stock in the United States increased by about 4 million so far this year, give or take a hundred thousand or two.  It is likely that we will see about 16 to 20 million firearms added to the private stock in 2016.  About 88.5 million firearms  have been added to the private stock since the start of the Obama presidency.

President Obama's ability to motivate the population to buy firearms is extraordinary.  By the end of his presidency, the number of private firearms in the U.S. will have increased by about one third, or about 106 million firarms.  That is about 20 percent more than all the modern private firearms that existed in the United States, at the beginning of the modern push for citizen disarmament in 1968, when the estimate was about 89 million. 

The more people push for legislative controls on guns, the more guns are purchased.  As extraordinary and counter-intuitive as this may seem, the evidence is incontrovertible. 

I offer this prediction: If a Republican president is elected, the number of NICS checks and firearms sold will drop like a rock. If a Democrat is elected, they will soar to even higher records.

Given the uncertainty of a presidential race, they will remain at record, or near record levels through the end of 2016.

Source for NICS numbers: From

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

My 40+ years of studying the constitution tells me the requirement to have a back ground check is unconstitutional. a back ground check violates the second, fourth, fifth and tenth amendments in the bill of rights.

Dean Weingarten said...

It is a prior restraint of a fundamental Constitutional right.