The NICS checks for January, 2017 were 2,043,184. That is the third highest number of NICS checks for any January. The highest was in 2016, with 2,545,802. The second highest was in 2013, with 2,495,440. Both of those were driven by fear of strong gun control measures that might be passed by President Obama.
We are in the start of a new era of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks. There have only been four presidents that have had NICS checks done while they were in office.
They have been done with President Clinton, under whose administration the NICS system was initiated and evolved. Court cases and challenges both limited and defined the system. There were two years and two months of NICS checks under President Clinton. They totaled 18,574,000 checks.
They were done for the full eight years of the two terms of President Bush, totaling 77 million checks. 34,533,772 in the first term and 42,876,236 in the second term.
They were done for the full eight years of the two terms of President Obama, totaling 157 million checks. 64,490,694 in the first term, and 92,742,463 in the second term.
President Trump, who has yet to complete a full month in office, has had the first month of his presidency of NICS checks. While a president does not take office in his first year until January 20th, at noon, I include the entire month as part of the presidency. He was elected over two months previously. Anticipation of his presidency is fully "baked in" to January NICS.
It was widely anticipated that firearm sales and concurrently, NICS checks, would drop with a Trump presidency. The urgency of firearms purchases in anticipation of significant infringements on firearms ownership by a President Hillary Clinton, and of a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court hostile to the Second Amendment, are gone.
There is unexpected angst over a Trump Presidency among Democrats. The conspiracy theories have to do with rounding up gays, transgenders, muslims, and perhaps a nuclear holocaust set off by President Trump. How much these anxieties will contribute to demand for firearms and background checks is uncertain. But January, 2017 NICS are 80% of those done last January. It is a substantial number.
As the use of NICS has increased, there has been a gradual decline in the number of NICS checks that correlate to an increase in the private firearm stock. NICS checks are done for used guns much of the time. Those sales do not increase the private stock. The same can be said for NICS checks done for carry permits. There are substantial numbers of gun mufflers/silencers/suppressors being purchased. The add hundreds of thousands of NICS checks each year without increasing the private firearms stock.
We will have to wait for the BATFE figures to be published for 2015, before we see what the ratio is for that year. The average for the previous 15 years is very close to .6 guns added to the private stock for each NICS check.
If that ratio holds true, about 1.2 million guns were added in January, 2017.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.