One Million Firearms Sold for 44 Months in a Row

The firearms market continues to experience record growth.

posted on April 13, 2023
One million guns a month

For the 44th month in a row, March saw more than one million firearm purchases that resulted in the FBI processing the new owner’s name and information through its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bureau’s facility in Winchester, WV, also handles clearances for concealed carry permits, their renewals and a variety of other administrative duties. In all, last month 3,036,667 NICS checks were performed, 1,556,492 of them related to the sale of a gun according to a National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) estimate.

That figure, however, is only a relative barometer of industry health, and widely accepted as a low estimate of total firearm purchases. Twenty-four states currently recognize valid concealed carry permits as an alternative to the NICS-check method, a fact that acknowledges the holder has already undergone the process and other hurdles to qualify for it. With the record number of law-abiding citizens now possessing a permit, along with those areas where private transfers are legal, accurate numbers are impossible.

March sales are estimated to be down by 6.8 percent compared to the same month in 2022. The figure, however, was the fourth highest for March in a system that launched with NICS in late 1998. Only in 2020, 2021 and 2022—years plagued with social unrest and Covid-19 concerns—did the 31-day reporting period surpass last month’s number.

“March’s NSSF Adjusted NICS figure of 1,556,492 marks 44 consecutive months when background checks have exceeded 1 million,” NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva explained. “That sustained figure is clearly demonstrative of America’s continued desire to exercise their Second Amendment rights to lawfully purchase and own a firearm. This trend continues even as President Joe Biden demands stricter gun control measures that only place barriers in the way of law-abiding citizens yet does nothing to address the ongoing issues of crime and access to mental health.”


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