Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Context for the Guns of 2020

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Context for the Guns of 2020

We’ve written extensively about NICS background checks records this year and the potential implications. Large numbers are now used routinely. There were 3,115,063 total NICS firearm background checks last month, but what does that actually mean?

The typical format for an article on the monthly NICS report would include various statistics, like August 2020 was the fifth-busiest month all-time for the NICS office or that it was the busiest August ever (both of which are true) but we do not want to become so conditioned to these large numbers that we lose context. So, yes – there was a 31.6% increase in total NICS checks last month as compared to August 2019 and, yes, four of the five busiest months all-time have been in 2020, but let’s take a look at what these numbers actually mean.

We have NICS data for eight months of 2020, and there have been more total NICS checks in those eight months than in 18 of the 21 complete years NICS has been in operation (the first full year was 1999). Only three years saw more total NICS checks and the annual record was set in 2019. We are “only” 2,435,416 checks away from setting a new annual record. This difference is fewer NICS checks than have been run in any single month so far this year, so that record should be soon shattered – especially with hunting season and a critical Presidential election coming up in the next few months.

Again – discussion of very large numbers may not allow the appropriate contextualization. Let’s see what those numbers include, specifically in terms of handguns and long guns. The number of NICS checks related to long gun sales so far in 2020 total 4,294,411, which is more than the estimated population of the City of Los Angeles (estimated to be 3.98 million).

There have been 8,139,676 NICS background checks related to the sale of handguns so far in 2020. For comparison: thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia each have a smaller population than the total number of handgun related sales checks. The number of such checks so far in 2020 has been nearly equal to the population of New York City (estimated to be 8.34 million).

There have been more handgun related NICS checks through the first eight months of 2020 than in any year since NICS came online. Having trouble finding 9mm ammunition right now? If every handgun related NICS check was a single 9mm round laid end-to-end, we’d have over 150 miles of ammunition.

Look at the trend; there has been a long, steady increase in handgun related checks and the number of long gun checks has more fluctuation but also a general upward trend. Here’s the thing: firearms are durable goods. They can be passed down from generation to generation. Firearms purchased 20, 30, or even 50 or more years ago are still in existence. Since NICS came online in November 1998, there have been over 97.5 million handgun related checks and more than 113 million related to long gun sales.

We’ve also welcomed nearly five million new gun owners into the gun-owning community this year, but think of the millions more that purchased their first firearm over the last 23 years. At some point, every single one of us was a first-time gun owner. 

Maybe there are more first-time gun owners in the present than in previous years, but ours was never a small community. Recent data indicates that 47% of likely voters or someone in their household owns a firearm.

Those 97.5 million handguns didn’t buy themselves.

TRENDING NOW
Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Today, the House voted 75-28 to pass Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation that passed the Senate last week.

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Monday, February 26, 2024

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Today, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee passed the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation, Senate Bill 1, by a 10-3 vote. The bill now heads to the House floor for a final vote this week. SB 1 ...

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Monday, February 26, 2024

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Gun Control groups are launching an all-out assault on the Second Amendment in Maine. Their most recent tactic?

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, NRA backed constitutional carry legislation, on a 28-10 vote. The bill will next be considered in the House. Please contact your state representative and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1.

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

On Monday, House File 3570 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy and would ban so called “assault weapons” by expanding upon an existing statute used to define these firearms. The bill ...

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Monday, February 26, at 10:00 AM, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee will hear Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation. SB 1 was passed by the Senate earlier this week with overwhelming support. Please contact committee members ...

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

It has been a busy week for Maine’s anti-gun politicians. From releasing a new bill that would implement Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws in Maine, to Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) pushing for a ...

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

On Tuesday, February 27th, HB 2118, the “FFL Killer” passed the Senate, and SB 5444, "sensitive places" expansion, passed the House. Both bills were amended in the second chamber and now must return to their ...

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Last week, South Carolina moved one step closer to becoming the 28th state to enact Permitless/Constitutional Carry! This effort has been years in the making, clearing a major hurdle by passing the Senate, which has been ...

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Yesterday, Senate Bill 203 was passed in the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 11-1 and will be heard on the House floor today, February 27th. The bill allows gun owners with enhanced concealed ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.