NICS Checks in the Trump Era: March 2017 Near Record

By Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona ( The NICS checks for March, 2017 were 2,433,092.  That is the third highest number of NICS checks for any March.

The highest was in 2016, with 2,523,265. The second highest February was in 2014, with 2,488,842.

Both of those were driven by fear of strong gun control measures that might be passed by President Obama.

The Trump era of the National Instant Criminal Background  Check System  (NICS) checks has finished its first quarter. There have been four presidents that have had NICS checks done while they were in office.

There were two years and two months of NICS checks under President Clinton.  They totaled 18,574,000 checks.  During that period the NICS system was clarified.  Court challenges restricted how the checks were done and how long they could be stored.

They were done for the full eight years of the two terms of President Bush, totaling 77 million checks. 34,533,772 in the first term and 42,876,236 in the second term. The numbers surged after 9/11.

They were done for the full eight years of the two terms of President Obama, totaling 157 million checks. 64,490,694 in the first term, and 92,742,463 in the second term. Numbers reached new records as several restrictions on gun ownership and sales circulated among the states and were championed by the Democrat party and President Obama.

It was anticipated that firearm sales and NICS checks would drop with a Trump presidency. It has not happened as expected.

NICS checks remain unexpectedly strong under President Trump.  January 2017 NICS were 80% of January 2016 NICS.  February 2017 NICS were 85% of 2016 numbers. March of 2017 is very close to previous records. It is over 96% of the record set in 2016, and just short of 98% of March, 2014.

The unwillingness to accept a Trump Presidency by the left, combined with fear that a Trump Presidency could be overthrown by a media coup, could be a motivation for higher firearm sales.

Structural increases in the number of firearms owners may have increased the base level of sales.

There has been a gradual increase in the use of NICS for things other than firearm sales.  We will not know how much that is until the BATF figures come out in about two years.  The increases are for such transactions as the sales of suppressors/silencer, gun carry permits, and even checks on school teachers.

Kentucky has contributed to the number by running NICS checks on every concealed carry permit holder every month. Kentucky performs nearly three million checks every year.

The average ratio, over 15 years, is a little less than .6 NICS checks for each firearm added to the private stock. If that ratio holds true, about 4 million guns were added to the private stock in the first three months of 2017.

The political uncertainty is likely to continue for some time. A major victory for Second Amendment supporters, such as passage of the Hearing Protection Act or National Reciprocity for concealed carry, might reduce the demand. Both of those may be months in the future.

The trend looks good for Trump era NICS to break all records for April.  We will know in four weeks.

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

Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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A Dent

To much of the left gun hating is part of their religion. They’re no more likely to become pro-gun as they are to become pro-life. There may be some left leaners gearing up but I believe there are other factors here as well. It occurs to me that many people who are pro-gun are buying firearms again because there is less likelihood of being tracked and pilloried by the current administration then the last. Also prices are dropping. Sales were up during the Kenyan’s occupation of the White House and production met the need. Now, using the AR15 for example,… Read more »

M on mds

It’s all the occupants of the “Clinton atoll ” that are arming up. Look for a collateral increase in liberal prepper’s granola sales to estimate their component in the numbers.