Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The Trump era National Instant background Check System (NICS) hit another record month in April, 2018. Background checks recorded by the FBI numbered 2,223,213 in April. The next highest April recorded was in 2016, with 2,145,565.
The total NICS checks for the first four months of 2018 numbered 9,354,635. That is 6.8% higher than the first four months of 2017, which numbered 8,756,657. 2018 is on track to replace 2017 as the year with the second highest number of NICS checks. The record was set in 2016.
In 2016, a presidential election year, it was fear of a Hillary Clinton victory. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embraced numerous restrictions on gun ownership. Fear of her election drove NICS numbers to record levels.
In 2018, the political signals are not as clear. In April, President Trump seemed to waver, hinting that he might support some restrictions on gun sales. Those fears were dispelled when he spoke at the NRA annual meeting in Dallas on May 8th. Fears of a “blue wave” of Democrat victories in the House, with notable Democrats calling for a Trump impeachment, may have been a factor.
In times of uncertainty, people desire security. Possessing a firearm and ammunition offer a basic level of security.
NICS checks are performed for several reasons. The number of NICS checks is not the same as the number of new gun sales.
NICS checks are performed for the sale of used guns. Those guns are already in circulation. NICS checks are done for concealed carry permits. Those numbers are soaring. Many people with carry permits are not required to have another NICS check done for purchasing a firearm. One NICS check can be done for multiple guns.
Because of this, the number of 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 April 2018, would be 1.3 million. About 5.6 million have been added in the first four months of 2018.
The number of privately owned guns in the United States is now about 421 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 added to the privately owned stock of guns in the last decade.
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, which extended Newton and Zimring's work, was applied to the figures obtained from the ATF for later years.
421 million is the cumulative addition of domestic manufacture plus imports minus exports. This does not count guns shipped to the U.S. military. It does not include privately made guns, illegal imports, illegal exports, guns destroyed, or guns sold surplus from 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 is included.
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.