NICS Checks Remain High in September, More Carry Permits, Lower Gun Sales

NICS Checks Remain High in September, More Carry Permits, Lower Gun Sales
NICS Checks Remain High in September, More Carry Permits, Lower Gun Sales

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- – The total number of National Instant background Checks, (NICS) remain at historically high levels for September of 2018.

September, 2018 had 1,956,681 NICS checks. September, 2017 had 1,967,104 NICS checks, and September, 2016, the all time record, had 1,992,219 NICS checks. There is less than a two percent difference in the total NICS checks numbers for the last three Septembers.

Retailers are reporting that sales of firearms have fallen. How are the high NICS numbers and lower firearm sales reconciled?

The answer can be found by digging deeply into the FBI reports of NICS numbers by state and type.

While total NICS numbers remain high, the number of NICS numbers used for gun permits and for permit re-checks has become a larger percentage of the total.

Permit checks and re-checks were 41 percent of all NICS in September of 2016. (Rechecks are displayed in the FBI figures starting in June of 2016)

  • Permit and permit re-checks are 43 percent of all NICS in September of 2017.
  • Permit and permit re-checks are 50 percent of all NICS in September of 2018.

The numbers show a dramatic increase in permit and permit re-checks as a percentage of the total NICS checks done.

Digging into state data, just two states, Illinois and Kentucky, account for 60% of all permit and permit re-checks for September of 2018. Kentucky checks all carry permits for the state every month, resulting in September permit checks of 393,160. Illinois lists 189,106 permit re-checks for the same month.

When  the permit and permit re-checks are subtracted from the September numbers for 2016, 2017, and 2018, we are left with 1,165,584 non-permit related NICS in 2016, 1,128,919 in 2017, and 980,819 in 2018.

The numbers of non-permit related NICS checks show a 16% drop NICS checks instead of 2%.

The mystery is solved. Increasing checks for permits and re-checks, especially in Illinois, are responsible for the high level of overall checks while sales are dropping.

October sales are historically a little higher than September, while November and December are historically the highest months of the year.

Countering that trend is a failing Mueller investigation, an invigorated Trump administration, and the installation of Judge Kavanaugh as Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.  Judge Kavanaugh wrote a famous dissent on the D.C. Circuit in defense of Second Amendment rights.  From scotusblog.com:

Kavanaugh reasoned that handguns, which are mostly semi-automatic, are protected by the Second Amendment, and he saw no real difference, from a constitutional perspective, between handguns and semi-automatic rifles. Semi-automatic rifles, he observed, “have not traditionally been banned” and “remain in common use today”; indeed, he noted, handguns are more often used in violent crimes than semi-automatic rifles. The registration requirements, he continued, are unconstitutional because gun owners have traditionally not been required to register all guns that they own legally – “as distinct,” Kavanaugh pointed out, “from licensing of gun owners or mandatory recordkeeping by gun sellers.”

Those political events tend to make potential gun buyers more confident the Trump administration and the Supreme Court will protect Second Amendment rights in the future.

This could dampen incentives to purchase firearms, as more restrictive gun legislation seems unlikely during a Trump administration.


Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

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.

  • 5 thoughts on “NICS Checks Remain High in September, More Carry Permits, Lower Gun Sales

    1. These progressives are TRAITORS ! They are waging war against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with the distinct purpose of disarming law abiding Americans, which has the potential to put them (the law abiding Americans), at grave risk of being put in their graves. We need to charge them with TREASON, and give them a fair trial, and then hang a few of them on public TV. The rest of them will either STFU (shut the F up), or move to another country that suits them better. By now, they should very well know what the Supreme Law of the Land is here, and since we are still a free country, they have the right and ability to leave if they don’t like our rules and customs. And I would say good riddance to bad rubbish.

    2. Higher permits issued means more gun purchases without the need for a NICS check, it would make sense NICS hits goes down in proportion to the Permits going up.

    3. Wait a second. It was widely reported that gun sales were at a 7 year low. The chart shown clearly doesn’t jive with that. Which is it?

    4. 307 U.S. 174
      United States v. Miller (No. 696)
      Argued: March 30, 1939
      Decided: May 15, 1939
      26 F.Supp. 1002, reversed.
      1. Act of June 26, 1934, c. 757, 48 Stat. 1236-1240, 26 U.S.C. § 1132.
      That for the purposes of this Act —
      (a) The term “firearm” means a shotgun or rifle having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length, or any other weapon, except a pistol or revolver, from which a shot is discharged by an explosive if such weapon is capable of being concealed on the person, or a machine gun, and includes a muffler or silencer for any firearm whether or not such firearm is included within the foregoing definition

      • A pistol isn’t considered as a firearm, and therefore isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of Gun Control Act (18 U.S.C Chapter 44) – 926A. Interstate transportation of firearms when transporting a firearm.

      National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. Chapter 53) – § 5845. Definitions

      For the purpose of this chapter—
      (a) Firearm
      The term ‘‘firearm’’ means (1) a shotgun hav-
      ing a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in
      length; (2) a weapon made from a shotgun if such
      weapon as modified has an overall length of less
      than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than
      18 inches in length; (3) a rifle having a barrel or
      barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (4) a
      weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as
      modified has an overall length of less than 26
      inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16
      inches in length; (5) any other weapon, as de-
      fined in subsection (e); (6) a machinegun; (7) any
      silencer (as defined in section 921 of title 18,
      United States Code); and (8) a destructive de-
      vice. The term ‘‘firearm’’ shall not include an
      antique firearm or any device (other than a ma-
      chinegun or destructive device) which, although
      designed as a weapon, the Secretary finds by
      reason of the date of its manufacture, value, de-
      sign, and other characteristics is primarily a
      collector’s item and is not likely to be used as
      a weapon.

      (e) Any other weapon
      The term ‘‘any other weapon’’ means any
      weapon or device capable of being concealed on
      the person from which a shot can be discharged
      through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or
      revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore de-
      signed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun
      shell, weapons with combination shotgun and
      rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18
      inches in length, from which only a single dis-
      charge can be made from either barrel without
      manual reloading, and shall include any such
      weapon which may be readily restored to fire.
      Such term shall not include a pistol or a re-
      volver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or
      weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired
      from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed
      ammunition.

      Such facts grant the notion that a pistol isn’t a firearm, nor does it fall into the jurisdiction of a firearm.

      U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 44 › § 926A
      18 .S. Code § 926A – Interstate transportation of firearms |

      Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a Stateor any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

      Again a pistol isn’t considered a firearm and therefore isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of this law.

      In 2008 the Heller decision made clear what it meant to bear arms. Scalia quoted Justice Ginsburg’s; a former attorney for the ACLU, writing in a previous case. From cornell.edu:
      Justice Ginsburg wrote that “[s]urely a most familiar meaning is, as the Constitution’s Second Amendment … indicate[s]: ‘wear, bear, or carry … upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose … of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ ”
      “..in the clothing or in a pocket” is carrying concealed.

      Yet it was also stated that states can have restrictions:

      “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

      This doesn’t pertain to carry of style, bearing of appropriation, or limitations supported by curtailment of classes or permits. And like in Heller, a firearm held in an inoperable fashion by state law is an Infringement and therefore Unconstitutional. And the specificity of MCL750.227a and MCL750.227 requirements when transporting a firearm and requiring a permit are in direct confliction with maintaining a firearm in an inoperable manner, and bearing an arm in an Uninfringed manner. And like in Heller, a firearm forced to be held in an inoperable fashion by state law is an Infringement and therefore Unconstitutional.

      I mean if the 2nd Amendment doesn’t allow the Uninfringed right to carry concealed, then every state that allows Constitutional Carry is in violation of the precedent set by the 2nd Amendment and must have policies to govern and restrict said concealed carry supported by classes and training, yet no such reality exists….

      So please inform me as to how there are “Anti-Concealed Carry” laws enacted and enforced against pistols being carried openly or concealed whether on your person, in your privately owned vehicle, business, land, property, or while on public land out and about being exposed to real life scenarios which require not only the right, but the need and right to life, liberty, self-defense, and self-preservation?

      1. @WK, I think what you are missing is the concept of Preemption. The Second Amendment is supposed to do exactly what it says. However, The Progressive Movement began ignoring the Constitution because it was in their way.
        Then the NFA of 1934. Then Miller. Then the GCA of 1968. Then the NFA got rolled into the GCA. And all that goes with the previous. This ends the time line review.
        So called Progressives ignore the Second Amendment because they have the votes. The GCA does not specifically say that Congress intends to “fill the field” of this area of law. Thus the states are not preempted and are free to exercise their police powers. Congress’ lack of specific preemptive language was a signal to the states.
        Note: Every Congress and state legislature since 1933 have ignored the preemptive authority of the Second Amendment because they had the votes and the trigger pullers to back up the statutes (as differentiated from law) that they enacted.
        See why this next election is so important? And if we are ever to get back to the Constitution, we will have to use every election from now on to root out party hacks.

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