Biggest September on record for federal background checks

The FBI processed 1.9 million background checks last month — the biggest September on record since the National Instant Criminal Background Check system rolled out in 1998.

The unadjusted totals show background checks topped out at 1,992,219 in September, a 10.9 percent increase over 2015 and a 7.5 percent spike over August totals.

Adjusted NICS totals, however, show September’s checks lagged about 51,00 behind August. The adjusted total is calculated by removing permit checks and rechecks from the total number of background checks performed for the month. Industry analysts and trade associations, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, use the adjusted total as a measurement of gun sales across the country.

NSSF did not release an analysis of August NICS data due to a number of state reporting anomalies spurred by the FBI’s new computer system. Mike Bazinet, NSSF spokesman, said Monday the organization’s research director will release a September analysis “if the numbers look like they are back on track.”

An FBI spokesman said last month “unusual hikes or drops” in state reporting will continue until the department resolves all issues.

Despite the computer glitches, 2016 remains a record-breaking year for NICS, with six out of the last nine months raking in more than 2 million checks. The system has processed 19.8 million checks this year so far.

There were 23.1 million background checks processed in 2015, the highest year on record.