The National Shooting Sports Foundation is reporting that the “NSSF-adjusted” figures for background checks related to gun sales in March were the second strongest for the month on record, and were likely spurred by calls for tougher gun laws following two high-profile mass shooting incidents.
“It is clear that firearm sales in March were driven by gun control calls from politicians to ban entire classes of firearms and enact onerous gun laws,” suggested Mark Oliva, NSSF public affairs director. “Americans continue to vote with their wallets when it comes to lawful firearm ownership.”
According to the FBI website, the raw number of background checks last month was 4,691,738, while NSSF says the raw, unadjusted number was 4,645,609. Their number “reflects a 25.2 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 3,709,562 in March 2020,” NSSF said in a news release.
According to NSSF, “The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF started subtracting permit rechecks in February 2016… Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms.”
“March’s background checks shows that President Biden’s demand to enact a ban on AR-15s and the push by Democrats to enact laws that would deny Americans their rights is out of step with Main Street, U.S.A.,” Oliva said in an email. “The firearm industry will continue to serve those law-abiding citizens who choose to protect themselves and their loved ones and, at the same time, pursue real solutions to keep firearms from criminals and other prohibited individuals to stop them from victimizing innocent lives.”
A check of the FBI raw data shows last month’s figure of 4.69 million initiated NICS checks to have surpassed January’s figure of 4,317,804. Not all of these checks translate to a firearms transaction.
This year marks the first time in the NICS history that the number of initiated background checks has exceeded 4 million in a single month. So far this year, there have been more than 12.4 million NICS checks initiated, according to FBI data. If the trend continues, 2021 could set a new record for NICS checks.