January 6th, 2018

Gun Sales Strong in Year One of Trump Era

2017 Gun Sales Trump Dean Weingarten FBI statistics

By Dean Weingarten, GunWatch Blog
The first year of the Trump era National Instant Check System (NICS) has ended with the second highest number of NICS background checks on record. There were 2,586,138 NICS checks in December of 2017. There were 25,235,215 NICS checks for all of 2017. At the current 56 firearms per 100 checks ratio, we can expect that over 14 million firearms have been added to the private stock in 2017*. The number of private firearms in the U.S. is now approximately 418 million.

That is a drop of 9% from 2016 to 2017, but it is 9% higher than 2015. The only year to surpass 2017 was 2016, with 27,538,673, when Hillary Clinton was widely considered a shoo-in to be the next president. The next highest year was 2015, with 23,141,970. December 2017’s numbers alone were the fourth highest December on record, behind 2012, 2015, and 2016.

Prices Drop for Guns and Ammo
The reduction from the overheated firearms market that existed in 2016 is significant. NICS checks dropped by 9 percent. With that drop, prices of guns and ammunition have also dropped. And supply has increased — .22 LR ammunition is being seen on shelves where it had been mostly absent for four years. Bargain prices for modern sporting rifles such as AR-15 clones and good quality pistols have kept the overall numbers from dropping further.

It is a buyer’s market now for Guns and Ammo. Vendors are offering big discounts on Black Rifles such as the Savage MSR line.
2017 Gun Sales Trump Dean Weingarten FBI statistics

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


*In a year and a month or two, we will know just how many firearms were added to the private stock in 2017. The ATF is not allowed to release the actual manufacture, import and export numbers for a year, by law. Note — there is NOT a 1:1 correspondence between NICS checks and gun sales. About 100 NICS checks are done for each 56 new firearms that are added to the private stock in the United States.

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November 26th, 2017

Black Friday Gun Sales — New Record for NICS Checks

Black Friday Gun Sales NICS

Make no mistake — Americans still love guns. On “Black Friday”, November 24, 2017, a record number of guns were sold. Based on FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data, a new single-day record was set for gun transactions in the USA. More background checks were recorded on Friday, November 24th, 2017 than on any day in American history.

USA Today reported: “The FBI was flooded Friday with more than 200,000 background check requests for gun purchases, setting a new single day record, the Bureau reported Saturday. In all, the FBI fielded 203,086 requests on Black Friday, up from the previous single-day highs of 185,713 last year and 185,345 in 2015. The two previous records also were recorded on Black Friday.”

Black Friday 2017 Was Biggest Single Day Ever for U.S. Gun Sales
Thanks to attractive promotions from many vendors such as Brownells and Cabela’s, all types of firearms flew off the shelves last week. The FBI, which administers NICS, reports that NICS processed 203,086 transactions on November 24, 2017, making the day the highest Black Friday ever and the highest day in NICS history. The highest previous day was November 25, 2016 with 185,713 background checks.

The FireArm Blog notes: “This record-setting day comes [despite] a slowdown in gun sales on the heels of the surprise 2016 election results. It seems likely that overall demand for guns continues to be strong, but that in the absence of any imminent gun legislation buyers have more patience to wait for sales like those offered on Black Friday.”

Background Checks Vs. Actual Sales
NICS statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.

NICS FBI background checks gun sales

Fast and Furious — FBI Processes Three NICS Checks Per Second
On Black Friday 2017, NICS Background Check processing topped Black Friday 2016 when the previous single-day record of FBI-processed gun transactions was set. In fact, so many Americans lined up to purchase firearms on Black Friday 2017 that the FBI was processing three background checks every second. Think about that — three gun transactions per second. That’s triple the typical NICS daily rate.

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September 21st, 2017

Gun Sales Stay Strong Even under Republican Administration

We all know that ammo prices have dropped and gunmakers are discounting handguns and rifles. But have gun sales really dropped that much since the 2016 Presidential election? Actually not. Recently released data from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) show that gun sales remain at near-record levels.

The expected drop in firearms sales has been minimal. Sales are at historically high levels, only a little less than the records set in 2016. If the economy continues to pick up, 2017 will be the second highest year on record for NICS background checks. — Dean Weingarten

According to Dean Weigarten: “Firearm sales and NICS checks are having a good year. In 2017, the overall NICS checks are at 92% of the all-time record through August.” 2017 will probably surpass 2015 as the second-highest year for NICS checks since 1999, when the program started. (2016 was the highest year ever). And notably, the trend is up: NICS checks were 1,925,146 in August 2017. That beat the August 2016 number of 1,853,815, the previous high mark for the month.

Report by Dean Weingarten
The Trump era of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks has had eight months of high sales. The record for NICS checks was set in 2016, with over 27 million NICS checks for the year. 2015 was the second highest year for NICS checks with over 23 million checks done.

This chart reveals that the annual number of NICS Checks has more than doubled in the last decade!

Source: www.FBI.gov

The high number of NICS checks reflects an expanded base of firearms owners and shooters who are buying more guns under the expectation of a prosperous Trump Presidency. Gallup released a poll on September 8th, that shows U.S. investor optimism at a 17-year high….

Now is a Good Time to Buy — Especially AR Platform Rifles
There is a high inventory of firearms for sale, and many good quality AR-15 types can be had for under $500. Ammunition prices have been slowly dropping.

AR15 AR-15 sale cabelas discount

Growth of Concealed Carry by Americans Drives NICS Numbers
The number of people with carry licenses continues to soar. There are over 16.5 million. At the time of this report, the number has likely surpassed 17 million. Carry permit holders are 5-15% of voters in many states [such as] Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. When a carry permit is obtained or renewed, another NICS check is done.

NICS checks are done for Federal Firearms License sales of used guns as well as new ones. The latest estimation of the ratio of NICS checks to the addition of private firearms stock is about 0.53 private firearms added for each NICS check done. If that ratio holds in 2017, about 8.6 million more firearms have been added to the private stock in 2017 thus far.

Concealed Carry Class training state NICS


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

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December 3rd, 2016

Black Friday 2016 — Most Gun Sales in One Day in U.S. History

FBI Background Check
Photo courtesy BullocksGuns.com, Flint, MI.

More guns were sold on November 25, 2016 (Black Friday), than on any other day in the history of the United States (based on NICS numbers). According to the NRA Blog: “On Black Friday 2016, the FBI processed 185,713 background checks through their National Instant Criminal Background Check System, breaking last year’s record by about 400 checks. Leading up to November’s Presidential election, gun retailers nationwide reported record sales in the month of October.”

In fact 2016 has been a record-breaking year for U.S. gun sales so far. It looks like, if gun sales continue at the current pace, more guns will have been sold in 2016 than in any other year in American history. The question remains, will gun sales remain high with a Republican in the White House?

The continuing record-setting volume of gun sales after the November election surprised some experts, who opined that the Republican election victory would ease concerns about future gun control. Such fears certainly drove gun sales in the first three quarters of 2016 as most “experts” predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the next President, and that she would push for restrictive gun laws.

FBI Background Check

Fast and Furious — FBI Processes Three NICS Checks Per Second
On Black Friday 2016, NICS Background Check processing topped Black Friday 2015 when the previous single-day record of FBI-processed gun transactions was set. In fact, so many Americans lined up to purchase firearms on Black Friday 2016 that the FBI was processing three background checks every second.

Think about that — three gun sales per second. That’s triple the normal rate of gun sales. The website The Blaze reported: “The typical Black Friday boom in gun sales doubles the number of background checks handled by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), from one per second on an average day to two per second.” On Friday afternoon November 25th, that figure had reached three checks per second.

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November 3rd, 2016

2016 Shaping Up as Record-Setting Year for Gun Sales

NICS Gun Sales Obama gun purchases background checks

By all indications, Americans are buying more guns than ever before. Some pundits have joked that President Obama is the “greatest gun salesman in history”. Looking at NICS (FBI instant check) records, Dean Weingarten of the Gun Watch Blog concludes that 2016 will see new records set, likely surpassing 2015 as the year with the highest number of gun sales ever. CLICK Link to Gun Watch.

Weingarten writes:

The private firearm stock in the United States will have increased by nearly 100 million firearms, or 30%, during the two terms of the Barack Obama presidency.

Many indicators show a soaring and diverse level of gun ownership. Carry permits are burgeoning, approaching 15 million and more. Gun ownership among women and minorities is at an all-time high.

This October continued the record-breaking pace to establish 2016 as the year with the most gun sales ever. The 2016 NICS checks are far ahead of those for 2015, the previous record holder. In October 2016 there were 2,333,539 National Instant Checks done. In 2015, the NICS done in October were 1,976,759.

In 2015, the total NICS checks for the year were 23,141,970. In 2016, through October, they were 22,206,233. That is less than 1 million below the total for 2015, with the two biggest months in 2016 yet to happen. Last year there were 17,584,346 by the end of October.

NICS Gun Sales Obama gun purchases background checks
A record number of NICS Checks may take place in 2016. Photo: Benton Co. Gunworks.

The numbers are 26.3% ahead of where 2015 was at this time. If this pace continues, 2016 will end up with 29.2 million background checks for the year.

Given the NICS numbers, there will probably be 17 to 18 million guns added to the private stock in 2016. That would increase the total number to over 400 million private firearms in the United States.

Who would have thought that President Obama would be the record-setting, all time champion, gun salesman? The total NICS checks will reach over 250 million by years end. That will be over 150 million firearms added to the private stock in the last 18 years (there are 0.6 sales per check on average). Over 37% of the private firearms stock will be less than 18 years old.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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June 22nd, 2016

2016 Shaping Up as Record-Breaking Year for Gun Sales

NICs Firearms background checks Statistics

The recent Orlando terror attack has sent Americans to gun stores in droves. Prompted by concerns for self-protection (as well as proposed new gun control laws), Americans are buying more guns — all types of guns. This reflects a general trend over the past few years. In fact, it looks like 2016 will see the highest number of gun sales in American history. Based on FBI background check data, it appears that 2016 will set new records for gun sales, with nearly 17 million new guns sold. By the end of the year it is projected that Americans will own 405 million firearms — over 1.25 guns per capita*.

Record-Setting Gun Sales in 2016
by Dean Weingarten, Gunwatch.
In 2016, Americans continue to break records for gun sales. While the National Instant Check System (NICS) does not track gun sales directly, the numbers are highly correlated. The numbers of NICS checks, and the increase in private firearms, have skyrocketed during the Obama administration.

It is possible, even likely, that 2016 will reach over 28 million instant checks. If we reach 28 million instant checks in 2016, that will be about 16.8 million new firearms added to the stock in 2016 [roughly 40% of NICS checks are for “previously owned” guns]. That projection puts us at 405 million private firearms in the United States at the end of 2016.

The total for 2016 (through the end of May) is 11,698,006 instant checks. That is more than the entire year of 2007, which held the record up to that year. Thus, during the Obama years, the number of private firearm sales has doubled. In 2015, the highest year on record, the total number of checks was 23,141,970. 2016 is shaping up to break the 2015 record by millions of instant checks.

May 2016 had the most instant checks of all the months of May on record. That makes 13 months in a row that have broken records for all previous years. If the trend continues, 2016 will reach the record numbers of 2015 by the end of October, with the busy months of November and December still ahead.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten, Gunwatch. Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.


*The USA has an estimated population of 322,762,018 according to a 2015 end-of-year estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau. Source: USNews.com.

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March 20th, 2016

America Got 12.25 Million More Guns in 2014

NICS, ATF, BATFE, Statistics, Guns, Gun Sales, Background Checks

Guns and more guns — over 12.25 million guns* were added to U.S. private inventories in 2014 based on reports from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In 2014, 9,050,626 firearms were manufactured in the USA, while 3,625,268 firearms were imported and 420,932 firearms were exported. The total of guns made and imported in 2014 (minus guns exported that year) works out to 12,254,962 firearms, bringing the total U.S. cumulative stock to over 375 million! Yes that means there were over 375 million firearms in the USA as of the end of 2014. That’s more than one gun for every man, woman, and child in the country. And a lot more were added in 2015…

While the number of guns added in 2014 was impressive, it appears that the number of guns added last year (2015) may exceed the 2014 figures, breaking all-time records.

Dean Weingarten explains: “You see, 2015 was a record year for NICS checks, at 23,141,970. It will take another year before we find out if the number of firearms added to the private stock exceeded the record set in 2013, of 16.031 million. I expect that another 13.422 million will have been added in 2015, but it could be as high as 17.588 million, based on the 2013 ratio of NICS checks to firearms added.”

“The number of NICS checks for 2014 was 20.969 million, slightly lower than in 2013, which was 21.094 million (rounded to the nearest thousand). Many NICS checks are used to purchase firearms that are already in the private stock; a fair number are used for background checks on carry permits; and more than one firearm may be purchased with a single background check.”

Story based on report ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. For more information: Link to Gun Watch.

*This 2014 firearms total includes rifles, shotguns, handguns and others, “others” being mostly receivers that might become either rifles or handguns when finished. It does not include firearms produced for the military services.

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October 17th, 2015

FBI Plans to Spend $85 Million on New 9mm Pistols

FBI handgun badge Glock 22 badge Bureau InvestigationFBI Photo shows a Glock Model 22, .40 S&W caliber. This will be replaced by new, striker-fired 9mm Luger pistols in both compact and full-size formats.

The Federal Government loves to spend your tax dollars, and the FBI wants its share of the action. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the next generation of 9mm FBI pistols. At stake is $85,000,000 in Federal dollars for handguns, parts, and accessories. CLICK HERE to Download FBI RFP.

The FBI is actually seeking two 9x19mm pistols, one “Compact” and the other “Full-Size”. The pistols must be striker-fired, and capable of a “20,000 round endurance firing cycle”. Trigger pull weight shall be “no less than 4.5 pounds nor exceed 6 pounds”, with NO mag disconnect/safety. There will also be no manual external safety, no grip safety, and no de-cocking lever. Here are the RFP basic descriptions of the pistols:

Class I Compact Pistol: One (1) Class I Pistol with a barrel length of no less than 3.75” and no greater than 4.25”, minimum magazine capacity of 14 rounds, night sights, six (6) magazines, FBI approved gun lock. Firing pin/Striker fired only.

Class II Full Size Pistol: One (1) Class II Pistol with a barrel length of no less than 4.26” and no greater than 5.20”, minimum magazine capacity of 16 rounds, night sights, six (6) magazines, FBI approved gun lock. Firing pin/Striker fired only.

Why Change from .40 SW back to 9x19mm?
Last time we checked the FBI had more than enough firepower. The FBI’s stated need for $85 million dollars worth of 9mm pistols* certainly raises questions, while re-igniting the “great caliber debate”. In May 1997, the FBI officially adopted the Glock .40 S&W pistol for general agent use. Now it is going back to the 9mm Luger (aka 9x19mm), which it had used in Sig P226/228 pistols from 1988 to 1997.

Why make the change? Some people think advancements in propellants and 9mm bullets allow the smaller cartridge to rival the .40 SW for penetration and stopping power. Possibly the FBI learned that many of its agents couldn’t shoot the snappy, harder-recoiling .40 SW very well. So this change to a more user-friendly round may be all about compensating for lawmen who can’t shoot straight.

A report originating at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, VA may explain why the FBI wants to dump the .40 SW in favor of the 9mm. Here are highlights from the Report’s Executive Summary:

  • LEOs miss between 70 – 80 percent of the shots fired during a shooting incident.
  • 9mm Luger now offers select projectiles which are, under identical testing conditions, outperforming most of the premium line .40 S&W and .45 Auto projectiles tested by the FBI.
  • 9mm Luger offers higher magazine capacities, less recoil, lower cost (both in ammunition and wear on the weapons) and higher functional reliability rates (in FBI weapons).
  • The majority of FBI shooters are both FASTER in shot strings fired and more ACCURATE with shooting a 9mm Luger vs shooting a .40 S&W (in similar sized weapons).
  • There is little to no noticeable difference in the wound tracks between premium line law Auto enforcement projectiles from 9mm Luger through the .45 Auto.

Source: FBI Training Division, FBI Academy (Quantico, VA) Report quoted in LooseRounds.com.

* In addition to the Compact and Full-Size duty pistols, the FBI plans to acquire training pistols and spare parts: “Class I Inert Training Pistol (a.k.a. Red Handle); Class I Man Marker Training Pistol (a.k.a. SIMUNITION); Class I & Class II Pistol Replacement Parts”. The $85,000,000 contract price would include these additional items.

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November 30th, 2014

Black Friday 2014 — More Guns Sold Than Ever Before…

According to CNN, more guns were sold on November 28, 2014 (Black Friday), than on any other day in the history of the United States. Background check processing was running well ahead of Black Friday 2013 when the previous single-day record of 144,758 FBI-processed gun transactions was set. In fact, so many Americans lined up to purchase firearms on Black Friday 2014 that the FBI was processing three background checks every second.

Think about that — three gun sales per second. That’s triple the normal rate of gun sales. The website The Blaze reported: “The typical Black Friday boom in gun sales doubles the number of background checks handled by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), from one per second on an average day to two per second. By Friday afternoon, that figure had reached three checks per second … putting 2014 on track to blow past the prior Black Friday record of 144,758 FBI-processed gun transactions in a single day.”

FBI Background Check

An FBI spokesman said that FBI staffers would be working overtime all through this weekend to deal with the vast number of background check requests, working to ease the backlog.

Photo courtesy BullocksGuns.com, Flint, MI.

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November 13th, 2014

USA Violent Crime Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since 1978

The FBI released its annual Crime in the United States report on November 10, 2014. This study revealed that, in 2013, the USA violent crime rate fell another 5.1 percent from 2012, so it is now at its lowest level since 1978. Moreover, the murder and manslaughter rate fell 4.4 percent, dropping to the lowest level since 1968.

violent crime FBI Report 2013 more guns less crime

This is very good news. From a public policy perspective, this is very important data that should help inform decision-making. The NSSF urges gun-owners to cite these statistics when unreasonable or irrational new gun control laws are proposed.

More Guns, Less Crime
While the crime rate has been dropping steadily for more than 20 years, the number of firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans has been rising dramatically. So, statistics prove that we really have witnessed “more guns, less crime”. Earlier this year, the NSSF released a video that demonstrates this point very effectively:

63% of Americans Believe Gun in Home Increases Safety
A new Gallup survey released last week that found 63 percent of Americans believe that having a gun in the house makes it a safer place, a doubling of that number since 2000. The fact that more than six out of ten Americans have reached this conclusion demonstrates that the majority of Americans appreciate their Second Amendment rights to defend home and family.

What Counts as “Violent Crime”?
In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses which involve force or threat of force.

Long-Term USA Crime Trends
In 2013, an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 4.4 percent from the 2012 estimate. When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2013 estimated violent crime total was 12.3 percent below the 2009 level and 14.5 percent below the 2004 level. There were an estimated 367.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013, a rate that declined 5.1 percent when compared with the 2012 estimated rate.

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October 7th, 2013

NICS Background Checks Available Despite Federal Shutdown

FBI NICS logo shield instant background check systemPlanning to buy a gun soon, and worried about the effect of the Federal government shutdown? Many government services have been temporarily terminated (and Federal facilities closed). However, the background check system for firearms purchases is still up and running. The NSSF reports that The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Section is remaining fully operational and maintaining normal business hours. Accordingly, if you go to a gun store to purchase a firearm, the shop should be able to run a NICS background check in normal fashion.

However, some other firearms-related services of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been halted for the time being. The ATF’s Office of Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS), which includes the imports, firearms technology, NFA branches, and the licensing center and firearms industry programs branch now processing marking variances, is effectively shut down, operating only with minimal staff.

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August 9th, 2013

The Truth About Gun Crime Trends in America

While the mainstream media (and many politicians) call for new bans on firearms, ammunition, and magazines, not to mention further restrictions of Second Amendment rights, too little attention is being paid to the actual facts in the debate over gun control. Sponsors of new restrictions on firearms claim that gun crime is increasing. A majority of Americans also seem to believe that firearms-related crimes are on the rise. But is this really the case? You may be surprised….

NSSF Gun Crime Stats Infographic Less Crime More GunsIn fact, if you look at the hard facts, firearms homicides and other gun-related crimes have been decreasing for decades. That’s right — gun crimes are down significantly over the past twenty years. Since 1993, in the USA, the number of homicides committed with guns has dropped 39% even while gun ownership rates have increased. The number of “all other” crimes with firearms has dropped 69% in the same period. And the number of fatal gun accidents has declined 58% in the past two decades — that’s a big change.

NSSF Gun Crime Stats Infographic Less Crime More Guns

The numbers don’t lie — over the past twenty years, there has been a significant reduction in actual gun-related crime while gun ownership levels have increased. But despite all this evidence that gun-related crimes have declined precipitously in the past two decades, 56% of Americans have the mistaken notion that gun crime is on the rise. Could that be because mainstream media outlets conveniently ignore the facts?

NSSF Gun Crime Stats Infographic Less Crime More Guns

Actual, verified gun crime trends (based on Federal crime statistics) have been presented in an interesting “infographic” chart prepared by the NSSF. Click on the illustration at right to see the full-size version with data charts.

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July 27th, 2013

Gun Sales Climb, Month after Month, Year after Year

FBI NICS gun sales 2013Americans are buying more guns than ever. FBI NICS Gun Purchase Background Check data (as adjusted by the NSSF), shows that June 2013 gun sales are up 3.0% over the same period Last Year (See Chart 1). This marks the 37th straight month that NSSF-adjusted NICS figures have increased when compared to the same period the previous year. (This year’s January increase was even more dramatic — see Chart 2). What’s even more interesting, in June 2013, Americans purchased more than twice as many guns as they did a decade ago in June 2003 — roughly 870,000 vs. roughly 405,000. That’s a big difference.

CHART 1 — Adjusted NICS Checks in Month of June
FBI NICS gun sales 2013

CHART 2 — Adjusted NICS Checks in Month of January
FBI NICS gun sales 2013

Understanding the Numbers
The June 2013 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 872,025 is an increase of 3.0 percent over the NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 846,437 in June 2012. The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks used by several states such as Connecticut, Illinois, and Utah for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide a more accurate picture of current market conditions. For additional information on NICS or to view a complete set of the current monthly reports, please visit the NICS website.

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July 3rd, 2013

National Background Check System Upgrade on July 16, 2013

FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System NICSHere’s a news item of importance to all our readers who have an FFL or who may process firearms transfers. The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has announced that the current E-Check system will be upgraded to version 2.0, effective July 16, 2013. Among a host of new features will be the elimination of the digital certificate and the ability to access NICS E-Check using any computer and browser. Target date for deployment is July 16. FFLs currently using the E-Check system should plan to re-register on (or after) July 16, 2013. You can register at the NICS E-Check Web site: www.nicsezcheckfbi.gov.

Benefits of Using New E-Check System
 You will be able to access NICS E-Check using any computer or browser.
 Added customer protection against identity theft.
 Added safeguard against theft of license number and codeword.
 Ability to retrieve NICS background check results 24/7.
 Ability to retrieve background checks initiated on E-Check or at the Call Center.
 Ability to print completed NICS background check search requests.
 The availability of messages regarding NICS operational status.
 No hold times waiting for the Call Center.
 No hold times waiting for a NICS Representative to review a transaction.

What is NICS?
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was established to aid FFLs in determining whether or not the transfer of a firearm would violate state or federal law. Mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 and launched by the FBI on November 30, 1998, NICS is used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives. Before ringing up the sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to make a purchase. More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials.

How NICS Functions, Step-by-Step

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November 28th, 2012

Record Number of Firearm Sales on ‘Black Friday’ 2012

Black Friday gun sales 2012On November 23, 2012 (Black Friday), Americans purchased more guns than on any other day in history. Gun sales (based on NICS background check data) set a new single-day record. This year, the FBI logged 154,873 Black Friday background checks, up 20% from the 129,166 back-ground checks done on Black Friday 2011. And, since a NICS check may authorize purchase of multiple guns, the 154,873 number may “under-count” the actual number of firearms purchased on Black Friday this year.

Recent election outcomes may have influenced the spike in gun sales. People are concerned that more restrictive gun control laws may be enacted during President Obama’s second term. Writing in Ammoland.com, AWR Hawkins declared: “The bottom line: Americans want their guns. And it appears they’re getting them before Obama has the chance to do anything about it.” Hawkins adds: “As in 2011, women were increasingly among those buying guns on Black Friday. And first time buyers, whether male or female, were also well represented.”

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November 23rd, 2012

Record Gun Sales Forecast for ‘Black Friday’ 2012

NSSF story By Bill Brassard
Post-election reports indicate a rising demand for firearms nationwide. If 2012 follows past trends (based on federal background check data), gun sales on the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday — will hit record levels.

Black Friday NICS gun background sales

Over the past four years (November 2008 through the December 2011), four of the top 10 most active days for background checks were Black Fridays. (See Chart.) The single-day record for most background checks was set on November 26, 2011, when more than 129,000 were made by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The second highest Black Friday total was on November 28, 2008, only weeks after President Barack Obama was elected to his first term. That total of 97,848 was a record number of background checks at that time.

Given the president’s reelection and also his call in the third debate for renewed restrictions on semi-automatic firearms, will a new record be set this Black Friday, November 23?

A background check is mandatory prior to the purchase of any firearm at retail. Background-check statistics are indicators of sales activity, though it’s important to note that for a variety of reasons a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a background check and a firearm purchase.
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January 5th, 2012

Americans Purchase 10.8 Million Guns in 2011 — A New Record

Americans of all walks of life are purchasing more pistols, rifles, and shotguns than ever before. Based on NSSF-adjusted FBI background check (NICS) records, American purchased 10,791,275 firearms in 2011. That’s an all-time record, and a 14% increase over 2010. Gun sales hit a new high in 2011 after a decade of steady increases (see chart). In 2002, ten years ago, slightly less than 7,000,000 firearms were sold. The 2011 sales figure represents a 54.1% increase over 2002 sales. And the NICS figures are conservative, because they do not report multiple gun sales made with a single background check.

Gun Sales NICS FBI NSSF

Gun Ownership Becomes More Universal
The increase in gun sales over the last ten years reflects growth in the ranks of gun owners. A significant percentage of recent sales have been made to first-time gun owners. And more women are arming themselves. Gun ownership is becoming more universal, not limited to the traditional groups of male hunters and sportsmen. A recent Gallup Poll found that: “47 percent of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or on their property”.

Kapap Combative Women ShootersFirst-time buyers and women are driving the spike in gun sales. USA Today reports: “Some gun industry analysts attributed the unusual surge to a convergence of factors, including an increasing number of first-time buyers seeking firearms for protection and women who are being drawn to sport shooting and hunting.” Confirming that view, Bloomberg.com states that more women, liberals, and Democrats are buying guns. Multiple factors are at work according to CNBC.com: “Uncertainty in a presidential election year. Warriors returning from the battlefields. The comeback of the hunter. These are just some of the reasons… why firearms makers are ringing in 2012 like gangbusters.”

Gallup Gun Ownership Poll Summary
“A clear societal change took place regarding gun ownership in the early 1990s, when the percentage of Americans saying there was a gun in their home or on their property dropped from the low to mid-50s into the low to mid-40s and remained at that level for the next 15 years. Whether this reflected a true decline in gun ownership or a cultural shift in Americans’ willingness to say they had guns is unclear. However, the new data suggest that attitudes may again be changing. At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades — a finding that may be related to Americans’ dampened support for gun-control laws. However, to ensure that this year’s increase reflects a meaningful rebound in reported gun ownership, it will be important to see whether the uptick continues in future polling.”

The NSSF adjusts NICS data by subtracting out NICS purpose-code permit checks used by several states such as Kentucky, Iowa and Utah for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions of firearms sales and transfers on new and used handguns and long guns. For more NICS info visit the NICS website.

Photo by KapapCombative.com.

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May 29th, 2011

Violent Crime Falls as Gun Ownership Numbers Grow

While the two trends are not necessarily linked, it is interesting that serious crime continues to decline while firearms ownership expands with each passing year. Last week, the FBI released its Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2010, showing a decrease of 5.5 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to its attention in 2010 compared to the previous year. Violent crime, which includes murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, decreased in all four regions of the country and in both cities and non-metropolitan areas. For decades, violent crime in the United States has been dropping. Final figures for 2009 showed violent crime at its lowest level since 1984. At the same time, firearms ownership and use has been increasing, as right-to-carry legislation has been passed in 80% of U.S. States. There are now 40 Right-to-Carry States: 37 have “shall issue” laws, requiring that carry permits be issued to applicants who meet uniform standards established by the state legislature. Two have discretionary-issue carry permit systems. Vermont respects the right to carry without a permit. Alaska and Arizona have “shall issue” permit systems and have allowed concealed carrying without a permit since 2003 and July 2010, respectively. The largest surge in firearms sales occurred from late 2008 into 2010, and, according to an NSSF report, an estimated 34.4 million people went target shooting in 2009, the largest number ever.

shall issue carry states

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October 15th, 2010

Suit Filed on Behalf of Veteran Denied Gun Rights

Second AmendmentActing on behalf of a Georgia resident and honorably discharged Vietnam War veteran, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over enforcement of a federal statute that can deny gun rights to someone with a misdemeanor conviction on his record.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia. SAF and co-plaintiff Jefferson Wayne Schrader of Cleveland, GA are represented by attorney Alan Gura, who successfully argued both the Heller and McDonald cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In July 1968, Schrader, then 21, was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery relating to a fight involving a man who had previously assaulted him in Annapolis, MD. The altercation was observed by a police officer, who arrested Schrader, then an enlisted man in the Navy, stationed in Annapolis. The man he fought with was in a street gang that had attacked him for entering their “territory,” according to the complaint.

Schrader was ordered to pay a $100 fine and $9 court cost. He subsequently served a tour of duty in Vietnam and was eventually honorably discharged. However, in 2008 and again in 2009, Mr. Schrader was denied the opportunity to receive a shotgun as a gift, or to purchase a handgun for personal protection. He was advised by the FBI to dispose of or surrender any firearms he might have or face criminal prosecution.

“Schrader’s dilemma,” explained SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “is that until recently, Maryland law did not set forth a maximum sentence for the crime of misdemeanor assault. Because of that, he is now being treated like a felon and his gun rights have been denied. No fair-minded person can tolerate gun control laws being applied this way.” Gottlieb added: “Mr. Schrader’s case is a great example of why gun owners cannot trust government bureaucrats to enforce gun laws.”

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.
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September 14th, 2010

FBI Reports Crime Drops as Gun Sales Rise

FBI crime statistics 2009As firearms and ammunition experienced record sales in 2009, the nation’s crime rates continued to fall, according to the FBI’s just-released report, Crime in the United States, 2009. During 2009, property crime continued to fall — for the seventh straight year — with an estimated decrease of 4.6 percent. Violent crime declined for the third year in a row, with an estimated 5.3 percent drop from 2008 figures. Each of the violent crime categories decreased from 2008—murder (7.3 percent), robbery (8.0 percent), aggravated assault (4.2 percent), and forcible rape (2.6 percent). The decrease in violent crime in 2009 occurred at the same time that firearm sales were surging.

FBI 2009 Crime Report

The FBI’s crime statistics are based on reports from the 17,985 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies who participated in the Uniform Crime Reporting program in 2009. These agencies represent 96.3 percent of the nation’s population.

CLICK HERE to read full FBI 2009 Crime Report

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