October was the first month since the pandemic started in which the NSSF’s adjusted background check numbers — i.e., the best indicator of gun sales — was less than a month prior to 2020. October 2016’s total was actually more than the 2022 number, but the streak of consecutive months of sales over one million firearms continues apace.
As the NSSF’s Mark Oliva told us . . .
Background checks continue to reflect a steady interest by law-abiding Americans to exercise their God-given Second Amendment rights. Despite the claims of some elected officials that crime is not a national concern, these figures reflect the true sentiment of America. These gun owners are choosing to protect themselves. This is the 38th consecutive month in which background checks for the purchase of a firearm at retail exceeded 1 million and it continues to put 2022 on pace as the third strongest year for background checks associated with the sale of a firearm.
Here’s the NSSF’s press release . . .
The October 2022 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,265,311 is a decrease of 11.3 percent compared to the October 2021 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,427,264. For comparison, the unadjusted October 2022 FBI NICS figure 2,475,869 reflects a 4.0 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,577,913 in October 2021.
Please note: Twenty-five states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers. 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.
checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.