The federal background check system processed just north of 2.1 million checks in June, an increase of more than 600,000 from last year.
It has been robust year for background checks so far. Six months in, 2016 has netted 32 percent, or 3.4 million, more checks than last year and continuing a pace for the biggest year on record.
Total checks published by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which the gun industry uses to measure gun sales, has seen incremental growth since its implementation in 1998. But starting in 2009, the background check system has seen four dramatic increases in annual totals. In 2009, total checks increased by 10.4 percent from the year before; 2011 by 14.2 percent; 2012 by 19 percent; and 2015 by another 10.4 percent.
While total checks do not translate to total guns sold, removing permit checks adjusts the total to better reflect gun sales. The adjusted total tallied 1.15 million, which included 582,821 for handguns and 423,697 for long guns.
Despite calls to renew an assault weapons ban following the country’s deadliest mass shooting, sales of long guns increased only slightly. Checks for rifles and shotguns saw jump of 118,000 from last year.
In the week after a gunman with an AR-style rifle and handgun killed 49 people and injured 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, licensed gun dealers across the country reported a spike in sales, particularly for AR rifles. Many gun sellers told reporters the driving force behind the sales was fear of Congress passing strict firearm legislation.