U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- The number of National Instant background Check System (NICS) background checks for October of 2018 is slightly more than the number from 2017. In October of 2017, there were 2,030,391 NICS checks. In October of 2018, there were 2,086,895 background checks.
This does not mean more firearm sales for October of 2018 compared to October of 2017, because the character of NICS checks has been changing.
The number of NICS checks for carry permits and carry permit rechecks are now almost as numerous as the checks for firearms and any other purposes.
The permit and permit rechecks for October of 2018 numbered 1,028,214. That is only 30,000 less than all other checks combined. Most of those checks and rechecks come from two states, Illinois and Kentucky.
In 2017, the number of permit checks and rechecks done in October were 884,919. The permit checks and rechecks increased by 143,295 in October of 2018, with checks for firearm sales and all others decreased by 8.2%.
This does not necessarily mean that firearm sales dropped that much. An increase in permits likely increases sales where NICS checks are not required (25 states do not require an additional NICS check once the permit holder has had a NICS check for the permit). Because the permit checks and rechecks are concentrated in Illinois and Kentucky, it is unlikely that sales to permit holders account for more than a small fraction of the reduction in non-permit NICS checks.
I expect the number of NICS checks to be close to record numbers in November and December of 2018. Those months are traditionally high sales months for firearms.
In addition, the House of Representatives will be in the hands of Democrats in January. Several high profile Democrats have vowed to put forward extremely restrictive gun control legislation. From the wsj.com:
WASHINGTON—Democrats say they will pass the most aggressive gun-control legislation in decades when they become the House majority in January, plans they renewed this week in the aftermath of a mass killing in a California bar.
Their efforts will be spurred by an incoming class of pro-gun-control lawmakers who scored big in Tuesday’s midterm elections, although any measure would likely meet stiff resistance in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Democrats ousted at least 15 House Republicans with “A” National Rifle Association ratings, while the candidates elected to replace them all scored an “F” NRA rating.
“This new majority is not going to be afraid of our shadow,” said Mike Thompson, a California Democrat who is chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “We know that we’ve been elected to do a job, and we’re going to do it.”
It is likely that such legislation would be killed in the Senate or vetoed by President Trump. However, there will be strong media backing for the bill. That translates into strong media coverage, and increased sales of firearms and ammunition. I do not expect the .22 ammunition bubble to reinflate, but fear sells.
The number of permits and permit rechecks are likely to increase as well. The trend of increasing permits has not stopped. The push for more restrictions will further increase the number of people seeking permits.
With both numbers increasing, the number of NICS checks in November and December will be high.
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.