Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- In May 2019, there were record numbers of background checks in the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) run by the FBI. It bested the next closest May, done last year, by 347 thousand checks, or about 17 percent.
Last May, the total number of background checks were 2,002,992. This year, in May of 2019, they were 2,349,309.
Not all NICS Checks are done on the sale of firearms. A growing number of checks are done on carry permits and carry permit rechecks.
In May of 2018, the carry permit checks were 876,501, and the permit rechecks were 202,011. In this May 2019, the permit checks were 817,967, and the permit rechecks were 494,527. The total of permit and permit rechecks were 1,312,494. The total for May of 2018 were 1,078,512, or 233,982 more than last year.
This leaves the background checks not related to permits or permit rechecks about 114 thousand more than last year. 2018 non-permit or permit rechecks were 924,480. In May of 2019, they were 1,036,815, an increase of 12 percent.
Several other factors complicate attempts to correlate background checks with increases in the private firearms stock. Sale of previously owned guns at a retail store or otherwise though a Federal Firearms Dealer, requires a background check. In that case, no increase in the gun stock takes place. Twenty-five states do not require a background check if the purchaser has already undergone a background check to acquire a carry permit. Carry permits in those states are likely to be a significant percentage of adults.
Outside of New York and California, 8.63% of adults had carry permits, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, in 2018.
The permit and permit recheck numbers are heavily inflated by numbers from Illinois and Kentucky. Those states account for 38% of all permit and permit rechecks because of multiple checks and rechecks per individual per year.
Overall, the United States continues in a boom of firearm purchasing that started with the election of President Barack Obama in late 2008. In the four years before the Obama Presidency, 2005-2008, there were about 43 million checks done. In the last four complete years, 2015-2018, there were 102 million checks.
The population increase from 2008 to 2018 was about 7 percent.
There is no doubt the number of firearms in the United States has increased enormously during the last decade. There is no doubt the number of people actively carrying guns for self-defense has also increased enormously.
Most of the increase appears to be related to the push for more controls on guns by the politically Progressive in both parties. When there are more calls for restrictions on gun ownership, and what guns may be purchased, or calls for banning popular models such as the AR15, more people buy guns while they perceive they can obtain them legally and easily.
Similarly, when people perceive society as becoming dangerous, fragmented, or ideologically hostile, they are more likely to buy guns, ammunition, or to obtain a carry permit. When society is settled, peaceful, and nonconfrontational, and people believe there is little reason to own a gun, gun sales may drop.
On the other hand, the nation is experiencing a period of incredible prosperity. Nearly anyone who is willing to work can find a job.
Guns are often considered a luxury item. Many are status symbols. Perhaps it is merely prosperity that is driving much of the current gun sales.
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.