Last month 2,045,546 checks were carried out by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is just 100,000 less than the all-time record, which was set in April of last year, spurred by right-wing fears of a Hillary Clinton presidency where gun ownership laws would be rolled back.
On the campaign trail in June 2016, Clinton said, "I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets. We may have our disagreements on gun safety regulations, but we should all be able to agree on a few things. If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked. You shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show. And yes, if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America."
Taking non-sales related background checks out of the equation, an analysis of NCIS data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) may actually be higher than last year, as they found 1,111,596 sales-related checks, which constituted only a slight uptick from 2016’s numbers.
In a release, the NSSF said, "The April 2017 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is an increase of 0.04 percent compared to the April 2016 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,111,205." Spokesman Mike Bazinet told the Washington Free Beacon, "Anyone looking to proclaim a continuing sales slump would be wrong based on the best number we have as a proxy for firearms sales for April 2017 compared to April 2016."
Though sales in 2017’s early months were slower than the record-shattering period of 2016, the pace picked in March and April according to the NSSF.
Certain factors can affect these statistics, like the fact that NICS checks are not required in most states for transactions between used firearm merchants and private citizens though most do require the checks on most other gun sales.
"These statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS," the FBI pointed out in its monthly report on background checks. "They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale."