The National Shooting Sports Foundation noted that the number of checks in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System during September, 1,024,272 as adjusted by the NSSF, is the second highest on record for the month during the 16-year history of the NICS. That is a decrease of 1% from last year, the all-time highest September on record.
The adjusted count represents the total after removing checks coded from several states including Connecticut, Illinois, and Utah for concealed carry permit application checks rather than gun sales. It also removes routine checks on active CCW permit databases. The unadjusted number of checks was up 4% from last September.
It’s important that not all NICS checks represent firearms sales, so the number is not a direct count of the number of guns sold. But the number of checks provide a valuable representation of the condition of the firearms market.
Though everyone in the industry would love to have record-breaking months year after year, as has often been the case recently, it’s important to note that a 1% decrease is certainly not the free-fall spiral that many industry observers, news reporters, and political pundits have a tendency to raise the alarm about every time records fail to be broken.
Additionally, the 4% increase over September 2013 when not subtracting CCW-coded checks points to increased activity related to concealed carry, an important segment of the firearms industry.