Second-Highest Gun Sales in June Despite 1 Million Decline

posted on July 6, 2021

Firearm sales processed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in June totaled roughly 1.4 million units, according to estimates from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF). When compared to the figure for June 2020 the number represents a year-over-year decrease of roughly 1 million—a 42.2 percent decline—although the month now stands as the second highest volume on record for that 30-day reporting period.

“The overall firearms sales pace thus far this year amounts to about 10.6 million units, as contrasted to 11.1 million for the first six months of 2020, SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer commented. “A perhaps more appropriate comparison may be made to the 6.6. million firearms sold during the first six months of 2019, however, that is, before covid-19, before pronounced unrest, and before the presidential election campaign of 2020.”

Brauer noted last month’s sales drop was more pronounced in handguns than in long-guns. It’s the second month of decline, with May’s figures coming in at an estimated 1.4 million. In April, however, firearm sales were still up from 2021 with a volume of 1.8 million.

Total volume of NICS background checks—which are not performed exclusively for the transfer of a firearm—continue to skyrocket. In 2020, for example, the total number of records handled by the FBI facility in West Virginia was 39,695,315, shattering the old record set only a year before by more than 11 million. If the current pace of 2021 continues another record will be set.

Last month’s heaviest NICS use took place on June 23, a Wednesday, with 138,544. The busiest day in May was also a Wednesday, although that doesn’t necessarily indicate mid-week is the wrong time to visit an FFL. The system is also employed for concealed carry permit applications, their renewals, periodical re-checks and other administrative use.


CCI and Speer ammo
CCI and Speer ammo

First Look: New Ammunition From Speer And CCI

New cartridges for 22LR guns and pistol-caliber carbines.

Review: Thyrm CellVault-5M Modular Battery Storage

Because the brightest tactical flashlight in the world does you little good if you don't have fresh batteries.

First Look: Tasmanian Tiger Base Pack 52

When you absolutely, positively have to carry everything with you.

First Look: FN 510 Tactical and FN 545 Tactical

Two new heavy hitters from one of the most-respected gunmakers in the world.

I Carry Spotlight: Beretta 80X Cheetah

Beretta re-enters the compact .380 ACP market with an updated version of a classic pistol.

First Look: Tagua LOCK Line Holsters

The advantages of a leather holster with the firm grip of a polymer holster.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.