Thursday, March 11, 2021

February 2021 NICS Second Highest on Record

Image courtesy Dean Weingarten and David Scott

The number of National Instant background Check System (NICS) checks done in February of 2021 was another record for the month. The number of NICS done for firearms sales was the second highest February ever. This shows the expansion of the NICS for uses other than firearms purchases is continuing. 

To find a close approximation of the number of NICS used for firearm sales in February, we add the number of handgun checks to long gun checks, to 2.5 x multiple checks, plus the other firearms checks. 

In February of 2021, there were about 1.35 million NICS checks done for firearm sales. It was the second highest February for firearms sales in the history of NICS. The highest February was in 2016, when the number was 1.41 million checks done for firearms sales. 

The total number of NICS checks done in February of 2021 was 3.44 million. Nearly 61% were done for things other than firearms sales.  The most prominent of those things were 1.48 million checks done for firearm carry permit rechecks, as well as .53 million checks done for firearm carry permits. 

The total number of private firearms in the United States is now about 468 million. The number is calculated using the methods pioneered by Newton and Zimring, and extended by Gary Kleck in “Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America”.  The numbers from 2020 and 2021 so far, are an approximation based on the NICS numbers. 

Actual manufacturing and import numbers will be released by the ATF for 2020 in about a year.

The number is the cumulative addition of domestic manufacture plus imports minus exports.  It does not count guns shipped to the U.S. military.   

Because of the inherent imprecision involved, the figures are rounded to the nearest million. 

The reasons for the high level of firearms sales are clear. The political division in the United States is high. 

Conservative voters fear the government and distrust the media. 

Progressive and Democrat voters trust the government and fear Conservatives.  Progressive politicians preach distrust of the police and the military, which have been Conservative strongholds for decades.

When distrust of major institutions rises, people consider what they can do to rely on their own resources. 

Firearms represent personal power. Nicolo Machiavelli, often considered a founding father of modern state politics, wrote of the difference in attitude between armed and unarmed people. From From "The Prince":

There is no comparison whatever between an armed and disarmed man; it is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe.... - Niccol├│ Machiavelli, The Prince. 1537.

Mao Zedong wrote

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

Political power is the primary reason for the Second Amendment. If the people are to be sovereign, they must be armed.

The United States population is the best armed in the world, although the Swiss, for a long time, were strong contenders. Of the estimated small arms existing in the world (about 1.11 billion), residents of the United States own 42%.

It seems unlikely the current trend to center all power in the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. can continue without dealing with an armed American population. 

The American system was designed to prevent such an accumulation of power in the District of Columbia. The Constitution has been subverted and its checks and balances undercut through propaganda, legislative and judicial acts of "Progressivism" for most of a hundred years. 

The incongruities between the nominal structure of the Constitution and the realities of the administrative state are causing great stress.

One response is for people to buy guns and ammunition. Another is for the ruling elite to crack down on dissent, and to double down on propaganda.

Most of the ruling class power in the United States rests in the control of the flow of information to the people. 

Propaganda loses its value as more and more people refuse to believe it. 

Mere numbers of armed people are insufficient to check organized power. There must be organization as well. 

One of the checks designed to prevent the accumulation of power in D.C. is the power of States to resist. More states are resisting. Their political structure allows for organizing of their populations armed power.

With luck, enough faith will be restored in the fairness of elections, to prevent all out violent confrontations.

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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