Feb 2018 NICS Checks: 2nd Highest On Record


The number of National Instant Check System (NIC) one in February ran just ahead of last year’s total. And 2017 as a whole was the second highest year for NICS checks on record. There were 2,333,193 checks done this February. That is 104.4% of the 2,234,817 checks done a year ago.

In 2013, it was fear that pressure from President Obama and a Republican Congress, fearful of the intense media push for restrictions, would cave to the progressive desire to restrict firearms ownership. The effort ultimately failed, but the situation was very much in doubt at the time.

With the election of President Trump, many predicted that NICS background checks and firearm sales would drop through the floor.

It is likely that March was see an increase in NICS checks as sales increase with increasing Media pushes for bans of AR15 rifles, and with activist school administrations using children to push for more restrictions on gun ownership.

Many NICS checks are performed for the sale of used guns. Those guns do not add to the number of privately owned guns in circulation. The number NICS checks for each private gun added to the stock in the United States has varied from about .48 guns per NICS check to .76 guns per NICS check. The average is about .6 guns per NICS check.

A good approximation of the number of guns added to the private stock in the United States in February, 2018, would be 1.4 million.

The number of privately owned guns in the United States is now about 420 million. The number will probably reach 430 million by the end of 2018.  Most estimates of private gun ownership in the United States stop at about 2006, before the Obama administration. Over 100 million guns have been sold or imported into the United States since that time.

The estimate of privately owned guns in the United States was made using the techniques pioneered by  Newton and Zimring, which includes the calculation of the 1945 number of modern guns added to the stock from 1899 to 1945.  Firearms manufactured before 1899 are not included.

From 1945 to 1987, the data was taken from “Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America” by Gary Kleck, Table 2.1.   The methodology used by Kleck was applied to  the figures obtained from the ATF for later years.  The number shown is the cumulative addition of domestic manufacture plus imports minus exports.  This does not count guns shipped to the U.S. military.   The figures are rounded to the nearest million.

The numbers added to the private stock for 2017 and 2018 were estimated from the NICS numbers.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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About the Author

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP, with a Shield Sights RMSC Red Dot, that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in a Vedder Holsters ComfortTuck IWB holster.

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