NSSF-adjusted February NICS numbers indicate gun interest remains strong

The National Shooting Sports Foundation's graph comparing the background checks performed each month for the past two years.

The NSSF’s graph comparing the background checks performed each month for the past two years.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation‘s adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System numbers for February indicate that interest in gun purchases continues to climb nationwide.

While official NICS numbers for February show about 2.6 million background checks were processed for firearms transfers, the NSSF revised numbers indicate the real number is closer to 1.5 million — a 16 percent increase over last February’s nearly 1.3 million.

In comparison, February’s unadjusted numbers represented a 41 percent increase over 2015’s 1.8 million processed background checks.

The NSSF calculates the revised numbers by removing from consideration all checks coded for concealed carry permits. The group produces the revised numbers as as a way to provide “an additional picture of current market conditions.”

But the NSSF are careful to point out that while their statistics provide information on the number of background checks initiated by NICS for firearms transfers, those numbers don’t necessarily correlate to overall firearm sales numbers.

“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,” the group said.

For example, in many places private firearms transfers don’t require a background check to be processed before the sale is completed if the seller is not in the business of dealing.

Last month, the NSSF revised numbers indicated a decline of more than a million when they removed background checks related to concealed carry permits from consideration. January’s revised numbers showed about 1.4 million people were interested in buying a firearm from a federally licensed dealer last month.

And media reports nationwide indicate there have been larger-than-average numbers of people seeking concealed carry permits

However, even as the numbers of background checks for firearms transfers continue to climb nationwide, the ATF’s most recent firearm production numbers show a dip in manufacturing in 2014 from the previous year.

But the numbers for 2014 are also still higher than the production figures for 2012, which were about three times as high as in 2000.