We haven’t reported on the FBI NICS background check numbers for some time, but recent numbers show a sharp increase in checks. The most recent numbers are for the month of April.
April 2018 was the busiest April ever (since NICS began in November 1998). March was the busiest March ever. February was the second-busiest February. More than 2.2 million background checks were conducted through NICS last month, and nearly 2.8 million were run the previous month. So far, 2018 is on track to be a very busy year for the FBI NICS Section. There have been 9,354,635 total NICS checks run through April; only 2016 had more checks run in the first four months of the year. The third busiest January-April was in 2017.
More than 37 million checks have been conducted since December 2016. Will we ever see a single month with more than the 3.3 million checks run in December 2015? Maybe, maybe not. But the absence of a new record does not mean that Americans are no longer in favor of their right to keep and bear arms. Almost 5 million background checks conducted in March and April strongly suggest otherwise.
Now, the usual caveat applies: not every background check is associated with a sale so there is not a perfect one-to-one correlation. NICS checks are also run for permit (and permit re-checks), pawns, and rentals as well as other types of sales (in addition to handgun and long gun specific checks), provides this data on their website.
Last month, there were 583,601 NICS checks associated with handguns. Another 375,946 with long guns. Think about this: more than half a million background checks for handguns were run in a legal sale setting. Nearly four hundred thousand were run for long guns. Just last month. Other sales-related checks included 45,929 for “other” types (including receivers) and 19,349 for multiple sales.