About a year ago, I took a look at the notion that firearm sales had gone down during President Trump’s term. The reality? Gun sales had, in fact, not gone down, and the average NICS checks per month during his time in office had already overrun President Obama’s numbers by about a third.
Well, here we are about a year later, with a year’s more data; are firearm sales down yet?
As before, the information I am examining is the NICS Firearm Background Checks table published by the FBI every month, and, also as before, there is a very important caveat here:
NICS checks are not a track of the total firearm sales in America, for two very significant reasons.
- Any number of firearms could be transferred on a single NICS checks. It could be 1. It could be 10.
- Some states, such as North Carolina, use their carry permit system as a replacement for the NICS background check. You still have to fill out an ATF Form 4473, but no NICS is run on you.
At best, NICS checks can be considered a “floor” for the data, as in “no fewer than this many new firearms entered circulation in America on these months/years”.
But, still, as I said last year, NICS checks are regarded as the primary metric by both the pro-rights organization and the “gun control” extremists, so it is still a good – if incomplete – measure of overall trends.
And trends are still high:
In fact, those trends are sufficiently high that the drop from the peak month of one year (typically December) to the low month of the following year (typically June or July) has been consistently below average for our current President:
Now, in fairness, that metric could indicate that NICS checks are constantly trending upwards, on average, or it could indicate that firearm sales are simply leveling off. So, now that we have another year of data from President Trump’s time in office, let us consider the options.
How about if we look at sales in the equivalent months of each President’s term? In other words, let us compare the first month of Trump’s term against the first month of Obama’s term, and the first month of Obama’s term against the first month of Bush’s term, and so forth. Which month had higher NICS checks?
I would put a pretty graphic here, but the honest truth is that there is a grand total of one month – December of 2007 – where the NICS checks were lower than its corresponding month for a previous President (in this case, December of 1999).
In other words, since December of 2006, NICS checks have been higher in a given sequential month of the current President’s term when compared to the equivalent sequential month of the previous President’s term 99.28% of the time.
Alright, TL;DR time: no, gun sales are not down under President Trump. Their meteoric increase during the last President’s term appears to have slowed, but that may be nothing more than the establishment of a new normal.
Also, since December of 1998, there have been a total of 291,724,502 NICS checks. Again, this is not an accounting of firearms sold but it is indicative of one thing:
There are a lot of firearms in peaceful Americans’ hands, and they are not going anywhere.
(I will upload the source spreadsheet for this as soon as WordPress gets over itself and lets me. Suffice to say, all I did was take the FBI numbers and put them into a couple of charts.)