July 2019 NICS Background Checks Highest on Record, Sales Steady

July 2019 NICS Background Checks Highest on Record, Sales Steady
July 2019 NICS Background Checks Highest on Record, Sales Steady

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- The number of National Instant background Checks (NICS) done by the FBI for July, 2019, is up dramatically. There were 2,030,661 background checks done in July of 2019. That is the second-highest July on record, with only July of 2016 being higher. July of 2016 had 2,197,169 NICS checks.

The 2019 number is positive for gun retailers and gun manufacturers, even after we take into account the changing nature of the type and numbers of background checks done through the FBI system.

When the system was started in 1998, over 20 years ago, most of the checks done were for retail gun sales. In 1999, the number of people with carry permits was only 2.7 million, according to the NRA. The NICS system did not track how many checks were done for carry permits.

The number of people obtaining carry permits has soared, as have permit rechecks. There are now close to 18 million people with carry permits. Illinois and Kentucky conduct large numbers of permit checks and rechecks monthly, skewing the system.

As the federal government does not charge for the NICS checks, there is little incentive for states to use the system judiciously. In a bureaucracy, the more the system is used, the better. More use means more personnel, equipment and budget. Everyone in the bureaucracy wins. The taxpayer loses.

To connect the NICS numbers closer to firearm sales, the permit and permit rechecks need to be subtracted. When this is done, the remaining number is 853,963 for July of 2019. This is higher than the 849,837 for 2018, but substantially lower than the 1,220,710 in the record-setting year of 2016. The number for 2017, after permit and rechecks were subtracted was 916,586, also higher than for 2019.

Permit and permit rechecks continue to account for more than half of the NICS checks done.

While July 2019 had the second-highest number of NICS checks for July on record, it had the third-highest number of NICS checks after the permit and permit rechecks were subtracted.

That is a good showing, but it is substantially below the fevered buying that was happening in July of 2016, when most people thought Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in for President.

I expect next month to show higher sales and higher carry permit and recheck numbers. The left has become strident in their push for more infringements on the Second Amendment. That usually pushes sales up substantially. There are excellent deals out there on modern semi-automatic rifles. Excellent quality pistols can be had for very little money in historical terms.

In 1955, a Colt .45 Automatic pistol cost $64.60, or $617 in constant-dollar value. Today you can buy many different versions of the 1911 style pistol for that price. The minimum wage was $.75, so the number of hours is about the same. But more efficient manufacturing processes mean excellent pistols can be manufactured for much less money. The Smith & Wesson M&P .45 can be had for as low as $320, and the Taurus ST45 runs as low as $300.  Glock .45 models can be had for as little as $502.

In rifles, an S&W M&P15 Sport has been seen at $520.

Smith & Wesson: M&P15 SPORT II — a 2nd generation M&P15 SPORT rifle

I do not expect the deals to last for long. Sale numbers are going to rise again, driven by the media push for infringements on the Second Amendment.

I suspect President Trump will hold firm to protect the Second Amendment, in the end. But the President’s style includes making noises that sound promising and conciliatory to the left, without committing to details.

Those words will not be reassuring to Second Amendment supporters and nervous potential firearms buyers. That will work to increase sales.

About Dean Weingarten: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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“I suspect President Trump will hold firm to protect the Second Amendment, in the end. But the President’s style includes making noises that sound promising and conciliatory to the left, without committing to details.” The President’s “style” on the 2A so far as I can tell is bowing to pressure from the left when things get Hot. The Bump Stock Ban, The Proposed Suppressor Ban (which is still floating around), Universal Background Checks and now the GOP is moving forward with passing MORE Red Flag Gun Laws. This is more than just doing the “Potomac Two Step” or the “D.C.… Read more »


@TX2Guns, it’s nothing more than a signal for all those responsible gun owners to get up off your lazy, complacent, in-word-only, asses and start actually stepping up and actually putting in to defend the Constitution and all of OUR rights! I just got off the phone with the Second Amendment foundation in Washington state to urge them to get behind Dimitri in Greene County Missouri to defend him for his actions my next phone call it’s to the Gun Owners of America to do it’s to the Gun Owners of America to do thel same and then phone calls to… Read more »

Wild Bill

@TX2, Yesterday, in NHampshire, Trump said that it is not the gun. The trigger does not pull itself. People pull the trigger and much of what cause people to do that is illegal drug related, and illegal drugs come up from the weak Southern Border with Mexico and we are going to do something about that. The crowd roared.

Get Out

With all of the knee-jerk gun control BS being proposed I suspect gun sales will stay high. Gun sales will spike if any gun or components are on the chopping block.

Wild Bill

@GO, I went to the gun show last weekend and bought two in the parking lot! I could have gone home and saved the entry fee. Lots of commerce going on. Older fellows with the kind of rifles, shotguns, and pistols that manufacturers just can not make anymore. Real treasure!

Green Mtn. Boy

I would expect August to be another all time high record breaker,buy and build as it’s coming.

Dave in Fairfax

I suspect that some of the rise in numbers is because, given his track record, we can’t trust the President. Bump stocks, ERPOs, his comments on mags and ARs, etc. It isn’t raining, and my leg’s wet.


@Dean Weingarten, we all know that Trump is in there to win for America so all he’s doing is going after Obama’s, “Firearms Salesman of the Year” award. Just another WIN for America!