Thursday, November 16, 2023

October NICS Gun Sales: USA Private Stock over 500 Million

As expected in last month's article, gun sales have jumped up in October. According to the figures released in the FBI National Instant background Check System (NICS), gun sales were about 1.33 million, roughly a nine percent increase over the gun sales figures for October 2022. 1.33 million gun sales makes October 2023 the third highest October for guns sales. Checks done in the NICS system in October 2023 were about 2.26 million, making October 2023, the sixth highest number of checks done in October since the first October in the system was recorded in 1999.

The number of gun sales and NICS checks are not a 1 to 1 ratio. Many more NICS checks are done than firearm sales. NICS checks are done for gun permits and for other purposes. One NICS check can be used to sell more than one gun. People with qualifying permits in 25 states can use their permit to purchase guns without going through additional NICS checks.  The number of NICS checks done per gun sold varies above and below about two NICS checks for each gun sold.

An increase in gun sales was predicted for October because of the Hamas raid into Israel where there were over 1,400 Israeli deaths, many, if not most, of them non-combatants. In response, Israel is modifying its strict gun control policies.

Before 1900, it was understood tribal warfare was indiscriminate. The idea of "rules of warfare" is fairly recent, with Saint Augustine providing some commentary, and Saint Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century developing a robust theory of "just war".  For both sides to agree to rules of war, there has to be some similarity of culture in the opposing sides.

In most of history, no such rules of warfare existed. The Hamas raid exposed the world to the brutal reality: those who have weapons and the will to use them can only be effectively opposed by others with weapons and the will to use them. The same lesson is being shown in the conflict with Ukraine and Russia.  The surge of antipathy toward Jews in the world and the United States has resulted in many Jews realizing the need to have weapons in order to protect themselves. This is part of a trend which has accelerated as the world has become more chaotic and less predictable.

In the United States most residents are still relatively free to acquire weapons. Firearm sales have been over 1 million a month for over four years. The number of privately owned firearms in the United States has roughly doubled since 1996. The number of privately owned guns is approaching 500 million, with a population of 330 million, or over 1.5 guns per each resident of the United States. The primary stated purpose for owning firearms in the United States is for the protection of self and others.

Including the October sales brings the total gun sales for 2023 to 12.01 million. Correcting for sales of firearms already part of the private stock leaves us with 10.4 million private firearms added in 2023. The estimate of the private stock at the end of 2022 was 490 million firearms. As of October, the United States has about 500 million privately owned firearms, or a privately owned firearms stock of half a billion.  If all people capable of bear arms were integrated into local and state militias, this would be a formidable force.

No other nation on Earth comes close.

©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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