Continuing a trend that has held for over 17 months, the number of firearm-related checks initiated through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in October 2016 breaks the record for that month as the highest for any October since the NICS was instituted in 1998. The latest data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the number of firearm-related checks initiated through NICS for October shows a significant increase over the previous October (2,333,539 vs. 1,976,759) and exceeds the monthly totals for each of the last six months. Moreover, every state (and the District of Columbia), with the exception of Louisiana, saw an uptick in October over the previous month.
This surge in firearm-related checks is expected to continue into November, with the election driving fears of new restrictions on guns and gun ownership, and taking into account the elevated numbers last year in the weeks leading up to the holiday season (the highest month on record for gun-related checks is December 2015).
Although NICS checks data don’t correlate exactly with the number of firearms acquired in a given timeframe (there are other reasons why NICS checks may be performed), these checks are generally required before a firearm may be acquired from a firearm dealer and are a fairly reliable indicator of gun sales.