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NICS and Gun Sales August 2022: Another Third Highest Month

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Lines are from 2021; Bars are from 2022

The numbers for the National Instant background Checks (NICS) and approximate gun sales are in for August of 2022. The month is the third highest on record for both NICS checks and gun sales. This has been a trend in 2022. 

NICS Checks are reported as 2.45 million, while gun sales are approximately 1.24 million. This is 96 percent of what gun sales were in August of 2021 (1.29 million). 

The most gun sales in August occurred in 2020, with 1.67 million. The fourth highest was in 2016, with 1.17 million. 

Several million new gun owners have been added in 2020 and 2022. It is an imprecise figure. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, by using retail surveys, estimates 13. 8 million purchased a firearm or firearms for the first time in 2020 and 2021. It appears the trend has continued in 2022. 

The ratio of NICS checks to gun sales has varied significantly. Relying on NICS checks alone can result in significant errors in gun sales estimates. 

Fortunately, it is possible to dig down in the FBI released figures for NICS and separate actual gun sales from the NICS checks. While those figures are not absolutely unambiguous, they are probably within a percent or two of the number of firearms purchased with NICS checks.

What is not revealed is how many are purchased using a previous NICS check. There are more than 20 million people in the United States who have carry permits. In half of the states, people with permits are not required to submit to the NICS system again, once they have a valid permit. Those sales are not counted in the NICS system.

There is ambiguity about people who make their own guns. Those guns are not included under the NICS system. A person may purchase several guns with one NICS check. Those guns are approximated by multiplying a “multiple sales” NICS check by 2.5. 

President Biden, Governor Hochul of New York, and Governor Newsom of California seem determined to pick up President Obama’s mantle of being a fantastic gun salesman.  As these politicians pursue ever stricter and numerous infringements on the ability to buy, sell, keep, and shoot firearms, the Supreme Court is making it more difficult for them to pass and enforce laws which infringe on the Second Amendment.

While the numbers have dropped a little since the record year of 2020, there is enough uncertainty in the world and in the US governmental system to provide incentive for this high level of sales.

While survey polls show varying levels of support for the Second Amendment and for infringements, the economic poll of millions of new gun owners sends an unequivocal message. 

Using the method pioneered by Newton and Zimring and perfected by Gary Kleck  in 1991, there were 458 million guns in private hands at the end of 2020. 

By the end of 2021, the estimated total was about 475 million guns. About 10 million guns have been sold in 2022 so far. 

The increase in the private stock has been about 87% of what is shown in sales figures. This may indicate a significant portion of gun sales are purchases of used guns.

It is expected the total number of private firearms in the USA will reach 489 million by the end of 2022.

Given current trends, there will be more than 500 million firearms in the United States private stock by the end of 2023.  

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


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