Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The second year of the Trump era of the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) has started with numbers the same as the first year.
There were 2,030,530 checks done in January of 2018. That is 99.4% of the 2,043,184 checks done in January of 2017, virtually unchanged.
January has a traditional fall-off in sales compared to the record-breaking month of December, with Christmas in full swing. The month of January in 2013 and 2016 were higher than January, 2018, but both of those years were marked by significant concerns that politicians would ignore the “shall not be infringed” words in the Second Amendment, and implement stringent restrictions on purchasing, owning, and using firearms.
In 2013, it was fear that pressure from President Obama and a Republican Congress fearful of the intense media push for restrictions would cave to the Progressive desire to restrict firearms ownership.
The effort ultimately failed, but many believed it would succeed.
In 2016, it was fear of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Hillary had signaled an antagonism to enforcement of Second Amendment rights.
With the election of President Trump, many predicted that NICS background checks and firearm sales would drop through the floor.
They were reduced from the fevered sales of 2016 but were higher than the previous record set in 2013.
Now, a vigorous economy, an increase in middle-class jobs, a record low unemployment rate, and a rise in the number of gun owners are adding up to a sustainable, historically high level of NICS checks and gun sales.
We will not know how the NICS checks relate to an actual increase in the number of guns in private hands until the BATF releases the numbers on gun manufacture, imports, and exports sometime next year.
The number of guns added to the private stock have averaged about .56 guns for each NICS check. Many NICS checks are done for carry permits, renewals, and other purposes that have little to do with gun sales. Kentucky runs a NICS check on every carry permit in the state, every month.
Many NICS checks are performed for the sale of used guns. Those guns do not add to the number of privately owned guns in circulation.
A good approximation of the number of guns added to the private stock in the United States in January, 2018, would be 1.14 million.
The number of privately owned guns in the United States is about 419 million. The number will probably reach 430 million by the end of 2018. Most estimates of private gun ownership in the United States stop at about 2006, before the Obama administration. Over 100 million guns have been sold or imported into the United States since that time.
The estimate of privately owned guns in the United States was made using the techniques pioneered by Newton and Zimring, which includes the calculation of the 1945 number of modern guns added to the stock from 1899 to 1945. Firearms manufactured before 1899 are not included.
From 1945 to 1987, the data was taken from “Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America” by Gary Kleck, Table 2.1. The methodology used by Kleck was applied to the figures obtained from the ATF for later years. The number shown is the cumulative addition of domestic manufacture plus imports minus exports. This does not count guns shipped to the U.S. military. The figures are rounded to the nearest million.
The numbers added to the private stock for 2016 and 2017 were estimated from the NICS numbers.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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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.