Gun Sales Set Records in September

Record setting streak continues for 17th month

Bullseye Sport gun shop in Riverside Calif.
Bullseye Sport, a gun shop in Riverside, Calif. / AP
October 3, 2016

The FBI processed more gun-related background checks this September than any other on record, documents released on Monday show.

1,992,219 checks were conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, last month. The number represents an increase of nearly 200,000 checks, or more than ten percent, over September 2015. September is the 17th month in a row to set a new record within its month, a streak dating back to May 2015.

The FBI's accounting of how many NICS checks were processed in a month is considered one of the most accurate metrics for judging gun sales. Virtually all sales made through licensed gun dealers must include a NICS check. Some states require sales between private parties to include an NICS check as well.

The number is not a one-to-one measure, however.

"These statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS," a note on the FBI report cautioned. "They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale."

More background checks were recorded in September than the previous month. Though August 2016 was the best August on record for NICS checks, it was also the low point for the year, with 1,853,815 checks. This September saw the largest increase over August's numbers since NICS began.

Guns have taken a backseat to other issues in the presidential election, but gun sales have continued to break records. A recent Pew survey on gun ownership reflected the growth in gun ownership in America. Nearly 110 million Americans report having a gun in their home, according to the survey.

Gun rights activists believe the aggressive public stance many Democrats have taken in favor of gun control has fueled the spike in sales.

"Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s continued calls to erode Second Amendment rights have backfired," the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb told the Washington Free Beacon in August. "There are now more homes with gun ownership and that number will continue to rise."

Published under: Guns