The latest data released this week by the FBI indicates there have been a total of 70,291,049 background checks for firearm purchases by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) since Barack Obama was sworn-in as President of the United States in January 2009.
During George W. Bush's first four-plus years in the White House, NICS checks totaled 36,090,415, or about half the number conducted under the Obama Administration.
In 2009, the FBI conducted 14,033,824 NICS checks. By subtracting the totals for January, the month Obama assumed office, the year's total is 12,819,939. There were 14,409,616 background checks conducted in 2010, 16,454,951 in 2011 and 19,592,303 in 2012. Add the first three months of 2013 (2,495,440, 2,309,393 and 2,209,407, respectively), and the total number of background checks under President Obama comes to 70,291,049.
Other impressive NICS milestones have taken place under the Obama Administration, including a record 35 straight months where NICS figures have increased when compared to the same period the previous year.
In addition, a new single-day record for point-of-sale background checks was established on Black Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, when 154,873 were conducted by the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That total was nearly 20 percent more than the previous high of 129,166 set on Black Friday the previous year.
It's important to note that NICS data does not provide a complete picture of individual firearm sales. NICS is used to check transactions including sales and transfers of new and used handguns and long guns. 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.
Nonetheless, the number of NICS checks is considered by the firearms industry as a dependable barometer of gun sales in the U.S.