U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- In April 2019, the National Instant Background Check System, (NICS), recorded the highest number of background checks for April. There were 2,334,249 NICS checks in April 2019.
It is important to note many of the background checks done by the FBI in the NICS system are for state carry permits of various kinds. In the NICS statistics kept by the FBI, there are categories for NICS permit checks and permit rechecks. The popularity of gun carry permits at the state level has resulted in more than half of all NICS checks being carried out for the purposes of permits and permit rechecks.
The NICS permit checks in April of 2019 were 817,967. The permit rechecks for April of 2019 were 494,527. The total permit and permit rechecks were 1,312,494. The total non-permit background checks were 1,021,715.
The NICS permit checks for April of 2018 were 926,928. The permit rechecks for the same month were 193,194. Together they totaled 1,120,192 in April of 2018. The total NICS checks for April of 2018, the last record April, were 2,223,213.
The increase of total NICS checks from April of 2018 to April of 2019 was 111,036.
The increase in carry permit and permit rechecks was 192,302. Thus, while NICS checks overall were a record, the number of permits and permit rechecks are growing so fast they mask a slight drop in NICS checks for gun sales.
Non-permit checks for April 2018 were 1103021. Non-permit checks in April of 2019 was 1,021,715, or about 93% of the previous April.
As might be expected, the permit rechecks are growing rapidly while checks for original permits are slowing a bit.
This trend is exacerbated by the practices of Illinois, which did over 360,000 permit rechecks in April of 2019, or about 75% of the total permit rechecks. Similarly, Kentucky did over 361 thousand permit checks in April of 2019. Kentucky checks all Kentucky permits every month. The two states account for 55% of all permit and permit rechecks.
The FBI cannot charge for NICS checks, by law.
NICS checks are an imprecise measure of the increase in the private stock of firearms in the United States. There are numerous reasons for this. As shown above the growing numbers of NICS checks for firearms and firearm permits must be taken into account. In addition, one NICS check can be used to purchase multiple new firearms.
NICS checks are done on the resale of previously owned firearms by Federal Firearm License holders. The sale of those firearms does nothing to increase the private stock of firearms in the United States.
In half of the states, permits to carry can serve as a substitute for another NICS check. The check was done when the permit to carry was obtained.
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.
In spite of the difficulties of determining absolute numbers of new firearms sold, the NICS checks are a good indicator of overall firearms sales, especially if the permit and permit rechecks are taken into account.
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.