Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trump Era NICS Checks Close to Record in September

The Trump era of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been showing robust numbers for nine months now. Two of the nine months are all time records.  The overall numbers for the year are on track to be the second highest year in the history of NICS.

NICS checks for September, 2017 have been 1,967,104, almost identical to the record number in 2016, of 1,992,219.  That is just short of 99% of the record. The total for the year to date is 18,235,898, more than the entire year of 2011. It is 92% of the 2017 NICS at the end of September.

If the 92% figure holds for the entire year, we will have over 25 million checks for 2017. That would be the second highest NICS check year on record.

That is not bad for an industry that was supposed to crash during a Trump presidency.

It is likely, with the mass killing in Las Vegas, that NICS will break records for October. I have had people call me about where to get "bump stocks" and what AR-15 clones are best to purchase. There are numerous manufacturers of America's most popular type of rifle, and prices have dropped this year.

When there is a mass killing with guns, the media, in blatant disregard for the harm they are doing, turns enormous attention on the event in order to push for strict gun laws. They do not do this for other mass killing events.

The attention they pay to these events acts as a magnet to attract copycats who want the fame that comes with mass killing with guns. It is a well documented effect.

The push for strict gun legislation, in turn, provides incentive for people who were considering purchasing a firearm, but were ambivalent. All through the Obama Presidency, gun sales broke records. They skyrocketed when he started to push for nationwide restrictions on gun sales.

With President Trump in office, the response was expected to lessen. On the other hand, the over the top rhetoric on the left could increase the incentives to purchase guns. When President Trump is demonized, people worry about political uncertainty. An improving economy under President Trump should be positive for gun sales. Increasing economic activity, a lowering of unemployment, and increasing wages all work to increase gun purchases.

An increase in gun ownership appears to have raised the baseline for gun purchases. A NBC/Wall Street Journal Survey puts household gun ownership at 48%. The Crime Prevention Research Center shows some of the difficulties with knowing the number for certain, and other indicators that the number is increasing.

Not all NICS checks translate into new gun purchases, and an increase in the private stock of guns in the United States.  Many are for the numerous weapon carry permits, now over 16 million, and their renewals.  Many are used for other purposes.

Historically, one NICS check equates to about .6 firearms added to the private stock in the United States.

If that trend hold, 15 million firearms will have been added to the total private stock in 2017.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

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