It’s been a while since I posted on the trends in gun sales as indicated by the FBI NICS check numbers so here you are…
Year to date background checks, including the month of September, are just under 19.9 million (19,872,794). By comparison, if no more firearms were purchased in 2016 it would still rank as the fourth busiest year for firearm sales since such numbers began (1998). Keep in mind that November and December are two of the busiest months of the year for gun sales. Last year (2015) was the year with the highest gun sales ever. At this point in 2015 there had only been slightly over 15.6 million NICS checks.
This was the busiest September on record with over 1.9 million NICS checks performed (1,992,219). The previous record for the busiest September was set in 2015 with just under 1.8 million check (1,795,102). September 2016 broke the previous record by 197,117 checks.
Since the current administration took office there have been nearly 150 million guns sold in the US. To put that number into perspective the population of the US is just over 318 million folks.
Now the obligatory disclaimer: NICS checks do not directly correlate with firearms purchases. There is one check per purchase not one per firearm so many checks cover the purchase of more than one firearm. Not all NICS result in an OK to purchase. Many states do not require NICS checks for those with valid carry permits. The number of NICS checks is generally several percentage points lower than the number of firearms actually purchased.