U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- In the Trump era of the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), the number of NICS checks has remained high while the number of gun sales has trended downward. This has been called the “Trump Slump” in the firearms industry. In February of 2019, the Trump Slump dropped a bit more.
In February of 2019, the total NICS checks were 2,053,886. That is the lowest total NICS in February since 2015, when they were 1,859,584. It is a twelve percent drop from the total NICS of 2018, which were 2,333,193.
NICS checks contain many more checks than just those for purchasing firearms. Many of them are for firearm permits and permit rechecks.
The permit and permit rechecks for February 2019 were 919,580. The permit and permit rechecks for February 2018 were 1,021,431. Taking the permit and permit rechecks from the total NICS for February of 2019 gives us a figure of 1,134,306. The comparable figure for February of 2018, is 1,311,762. That is a drop of 14% from the non-permits figure for 2018, and a drop of 10% for permit and permit rechecks in NICS.
With both checks for firearm sales and checks for permits and permits rechecks decreasing, the prospect for gun retailers, gun manufacturers, and ammunition retailers and manufacturers might appear disheartening.
But anti-Second Amendment politicians have come to the rescue, with a number of infringements put on the legislative burner. On February 27th 2019, the House passed the most significant gun control measure in two decades, according to anti-Second Amendment advocates.
With the House passing infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, gun sales are likely to increase in March of 2019. March tends to be a little higher than February for sales, but not by a great deal. Last year, March was significantly lower in NICS background checks than February. But that is not the overall trend. Of the last 11 years, seven have been higher in March, and four higher in February.
The March 2019 numbers will tell us if consumers are concerned enough about the Democrat efforts to pass more gun control to change the Trump Slump into a Trump Bump.
Not all firearm sales are recorded in NICS checks. Twenty-five states accept the NICS check done when permits are issued, instead of another NICS check done at the point of sale.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming, are all states that accept a carry permit as a replacement for a NICS check.
The numbers of firearms in private hands in the United States continues to climb, in spite of lower sales in February of 2019. The lower NICS checks in February still equate to an increase in the private stock of firearms of over a million. Americans are buying a lot of weapons, even at a slightly slower pace.
By the calculations first pioneered by Newton and Zimring, then continued by Gary Kleck in Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, published in 2005, there are now over 432 million privately owned firearms in the United States.
At the current rate of increase, the United States will reach 500 million privately owned firearms sometime in 2024.
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.