February 2019 NICS Show Unexpected Drop in Gun Sales


Gun Counter Sale Store Shop shutterstock_Nomad_Soul 1686855574.jpg
Gun Counter Sale Store Shop shutterstock_Nomad_Soul 1686855574.jpg

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.

February 2019 NICS show Unexpected Drop in Gun Sales
February 2019 NICS show Unexpected Drop in Gun Sales

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.

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Jango Davis

If people who support common sense gun control are “Anti-Second Amendment” then people who don’t support common sense gun control in light of the high number of gun deaths in America must be “pro-murder.”

Rick Kay

You forgot to mention Minnesota as a state that also accepts a carry permit in place of a nics ck.
This hold true if your permit expires on August of 2019 and beyond. eventually anyone that retains
their permits will fall under this acceptance.


Keep buying guns and ammo. One day we will need both, besides it really p-sses the progressives off to see the gun totals keep going up. Only pure morons would think there is a chance to take away four million guns. If pressured to do so, they can get them one hot lead at a time.

Mr. Bill

Illegal aliens comfortable enough that they’ve stopped using the system to test forged ID?
Historically a significant percentage of NICS failed checks have come back as aliens.


The carry license in many states will cut down on the background checks. If you have a license you can purchase a gun without the background checks.


I will always stake my life on a .308.rifle. I grew up with it, and trained with it.
If I were younger, I would have liked to have tried the 300 magnum, and the 338 Lapua Magnum, but I am getting too old. Besides, ALL my stockpiled rifle rounds, including tracers, are .308. So are all of my scoped, bolt-action rifles. (Except for my WAG’s ..22 long rifle weapons); she will not shoot a heavier weapon because she is, for some reason, paranoid about “getting scoped”. I don’t get it, but I love her.


I believe US should defund the F in BATFE. Nothing in the Second Amendment says anything about regulating arms and their features. Article VI enforces this as Supreme Law over ALL levels of government. Defund, Disbar, and Discharge ALL from office who are not in good standing with the US Constitution.

Green Mtn. Boy

Perhaps folks waiting on their tax returns for purchases.

Will Flatt

Not worried about this – April sales will be sky high, IMHO. People will get some tax money back and put it toward their next gun. I just bought a .308 a couple weeks ago. You can only carry so many guns, however, so I’m focused on setting up a supply of ammo and getting defensive preps. I sincerely hope that more and more Americans, especially political moderates, libertarians and independents, will all embrace gun ownership. An armed society is a polite society, but more important, once someone becomes a part of our gun culture, they are INVESTED in it… Read more »


Will,”the very essence of being American”, that is right on brother.

Bob Koceja

A really free American.