Dip in NICS checks suggest fewer gun sales in May

Background checks for May are still highest on record but a deeper reading of the data suggests fewer gun sales for the month, according to figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A flat 1.87 million checks were processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in May 2016, but more than half the total checks were identified as permits, leaving 937,833 checks as likely gun sales.

The adjusted figure is on par with last year’s 918,707, a difference of 19,126 checks. Although NICS checks do not directly translate into gun sales, the industry uses the system as a barometer for transactions.

While the raw figure is down by about 280,000 from April, the figure is still roughly 290,000 more than last May and continuing a record-setting pace for 2016. So far this year, the FBI reported 11.7 million checks, or 2.8 million more than this time last year.

Of the checks, 512,406 were for handguns, 315,716 for long guns, 15,726 for “other,” meaning frames or firearms that are not handgun nor long guns, and leaving 93,985 for miscellaneous transactions.

Upon the release of the figures, stock prices for publicly traded gun companies dropped slightly. By closing on Monday, shares of Smith & Wesson dropped by 4.9 percent; Sturm, Ruger & Company dropped 6.3 percent; and Vista Outdoor fell by 2.9 percent.