Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Trump Era NICS on Track to Second Highest Year Ever

When President Trump took office 10 months ago, the bottom was supposed to drop out of the firearms market. It did not happen. We have the numbers for the National Instant background Check System (NICS) for the first eleven months of 2017. They are on track to be the second highest year on record. It is hard to see how they can miss that mark. December has been the highest month of the year for eight out of nine years. In two anomalous years, 2013, and 2014, it was the fourth highest and second highest month, respectively.

November of 2017 had 2,382,788 NICS checks. It was the second highest November on record. The total number of NICS checks for the year is now 22,649,077. If there were no NICS checks in December, that would be the third highest year on record. The second highest year was 2015, with 23,141,970 checks. 2017 only requires 492,893 checks to become the second highest year. No full month, since the NICS started to maintain records in 1998, has ever been that low.  June of 2002 was the lowest month on record. There were only 518,351 checks conducted by NICS in that month. 2017 is on track to have 91% of the NICS checks that took place in 2016.

The total NICS checks for 2017 will likely be between 24.5 million  and 25 million NICS checks.

Because the ATF is not allowed to release production, import, and export figures for a year after they are collected (to protect proprietary information), we will not know the actual increase to the private stock of firearms for another 14 months. The increase in the private stock is calculated by adding imports to the number of guns manufactured, and subtracting the export numbers. Guns made for the military are not counted.

NICS checks are being used for an increasing number of purposes. Those include, but are not limited to, checks for concealed carry permits; background checks for employment; renewal of concealed carry permits, and more. The state of Kentucky runs a NICS check on everyone in the state that has a concealed carry permit every month, greatly inflating the total number of checks.  One NICS check can be used to purchase several firearms; conversely a NICS check used to purchase a used gun counts as a check, but does nothing to increase the stock of privately owned firearms in the United States.

Based on performance from the last few years, one hundred NICS checks result in an increase of the private firearms stock in the United States by 56 newly produced or imported firearms.

Using that criteria, over twelve and a half million firearms have been added to the private stock in 2017 so far. The total for the year is likely to be between 13.5 million and 14 million additional private firearms.

Those numbers would place the number of privately owned firearms in the United States at about 418 million firearms at the end of 2017.

Many have stated that one of President Obama's accomplishments was to be the "Greatest firearms salesman, ever". About 97 million firearms were added to the United States privately owned stock during the Obama presidency, 2009-2016.

President Trump has a good start on breaking that record.

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

Gun Watch

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