As Crime Spirals, Americans Bought Another 1.2 Million Guns in September


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Oh look! Another month with over a million guns purchased by law-abiding Americans. That sound you hear in the distance is a hundred red-shirted moms crying out in horror and anguish.

Oh wait…it was actually 1.2 million. Sorry, Shannon! September, if you’re keeping score at home, was the 38th consecutive month with gun sales over 1 million.

As the NSSF’s Mark Oliva tells us . . .

September’s figure of over 1.2 million background checks for a firearm sale shows that firearm purchases remain steady and appear to headed toward making 2022 the third strongest year on record for firearm sales. It also marks 38 continuous months of when background checks for firearm sales have exceeded 1 million.

That’s a remarkable sustained trend and demonstrates that the firearm industry is meeting this continued increased demand for firearm ownership. This shows that law-abiding Americans continue to purchase firearms for self-defense, hunting and recreational shooting at levels that were unseen just three years ago and that the firearm industry continues to meet that demand for lawful firearm ownership.

Here’s the NSSF’s press release . . .

The September 2022 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,243,687 is a decrease of 7.9 percent compared to the September 2021 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,350,754. For comparison, the unadjusted September 2022 FBI NICS figure 2,437,563 reflects a 6.3 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,602,293 in September 2021.

The September 2022 figures were the third strongest for the month on record.

The third quarter 2022 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 3,763,618 reflects a decrease of 5.2 percent compared to the 3,970,570 figure for third quarter 2021, making third quarter 2022 the third highest on record.

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.

It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background 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.

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