NICS Numbers for February 2023, Fourth Highest for Gun Sales

GOA FOIA Shows NICS-Index-Self-Submission Form Was Used Beyond the FBI, iStock-919659512
NICS Numbers for February 2023, Fourth Highest for Gun Sales iStock-919659512

In February of 2023, the number of gun sales and total National Instant background Check System (NICS) checks continue to be very close to the numbers from February of last year, 2022.  The number of gun sales from 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 only varies by 8 percent from the lowest (1.24 million in 2020) to the highest (1.35 million in 2021). It appears the United States has reached a semi-stable level of gun sales close to what was an unprecedented record of sales in 2016. The number of gun sales for February of 2023 is 1.30 million.

Background checks, by themselves, show a misleading picture because of extremely high numbers of background checks done for other purposes, especially for gun permits and gun permit rechecks. Illinois and Kentucky do astounding levels of gun permit and gun permit rechecks. Both states check hundreds of thousands of the same people every month without any gun sales being made. This created very high NICS total checks in February of 2020 and 2021.  In February of 2021, the permit and permit rechecks were 60% of the total national NICS checks.

The lines are from 2022. Bars are from 2023.

Then Illinois changed its policy by a revamp of the Illinois Firearms Owner IDentification (FOID). This dropped the NICS checks for Illinois by a significant amount. Permit and permit rechecks in February of 2023 were only 46% of the total background checks in the NICS system. In February of 2021, Illinois had over 846 thousand checks done for permits and permit rechecks, about 25% of total checks done for the United States for the month.  In February of 2023, Illinois had over 372 thousand checks done for permits and permit rechecks, about 15% of total background checks for the United States for the month, a drop of about 474 thousand background checks in February, mostly from the change in Illinois state law and policy.

The change in the number of background checks had almost no relevance to the change in the number of gun sales.

The United States, according to surveys done by the industry group, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has large numbers of people choosing to be first-time gun purchasers. (Full disclosure: the author is a media member of NSSF.) The number of gun owners in the United States is growing. After purchasing a firearm, many gun owners find they want more than one.

There are many specialized purposes for guns.  New gun owners often find they need several different guns to do different things, just as most people have several different kinds of shoes and boots for different purposes. Running shoes work better for running. Hip boots work better for wading. Shotguns work better for shooting birds. Pistols are easier to carry every day. Rifles are better for longer ranges. There are numerous sub-categories.

Most new gun owners start with just one gun. Once they break through the mythology of “evil” guns, many find they want more than one gun. Guns are at historically low prices for new guns. Breakthroughs in manufacturing technology, the open nature of the United States firearms markets to foreign manufacturers, and the removal of many infringements on the right to carry arms in the United States all work to increase gun sales.

A pair of polls by different groups now show more people are opposed to President Joe Biden’s proposed ban on semi-auto firearms than are for it.

As the government’s willingness to provide for domestic tranquility drops in Progressive controlled cities, the ownership of arms becomes more attractive.

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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Ope – there is ‘some’ data compiled from NSSF and similar outfits that estimate (that’s a ‘clue’ as to how accurate that is) that upwards of 40% of the theoretical first time buyers are women. I don’t know the specific methodology used to determine that figure. I doubt we will ever know the specific numbers and in reality we probably shouldn’t as that starts getting into areas that are none of fedzillas business.


The NICS data is all that is available, along with production figures from the various manufacturers.
While reading the column and comments I had a thought. The bats have been illegally maintaining firearms transaction records and recently admitted that they have nearly a BILLION on file (where?). That tells us there are way more than the 400 to 600 million commonly ‘accepted’ as the number of guns out there. That also tells us they are knowingly violating federal law which makes them criminals and no better than a street thug. How can We The People hold them accountable?


my wife just asked me an interesting question. how many are first time gun buyers? is there any data to answer her question?
isn’t it amazing that this administration along with the sychophant progressive media complex is doing all it can to denigrate all firearms along with the Second Amendment. seems like the average citizen doesn’t believe the bovine excrement they are throwing at the wall.
i wish i had more money to purchase a couple of more handguns, maybe a shotgun and rifle or two. but hey, i am happy with the one(s) i have.


I know every time “they” try another end run around the 2nd Amendment, I go buy another gun.


gregs … Tell her thats just like sex there is only one first time .


Maybe ammoland could report on which gun companies are expanding or contracting and why?

Get Out

Politicians drive up NICS with their anti-gun remarks, just say ban this or that and the run for guns, ammo and equipment is on.