Federal background checks on pace for biggest year ever

Dennis Pratte, owner of a gun store in Falls Church, Va., told The New York Times he sells weapons only to buyers who clear a background check (Photo: Mary F. Calvert/The New York Times)

Dennis Pratte, owner of a gun store in Falls Church, Virginia, tells the New York Times he sells only to those who can pass a background check (Photo: Mary F. Calvert/The New York Times)

Background checks processed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system hit all-time highs again in October.

NICS processed 2.3 million checks last month, putting the system just 935,737 behind last year’s record of 23.1 million.

Last month’s checks increased 18 percent over October 2015 and spiked 17 percent compared to September totals.

The adjusted NICS totals also show notable growth in background checks, up 13 percent over last year and 18 percent from September.

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.

A combined 962,403 permit checks and rechecks were conducted last month, shrinking the adjusted total to just under 1.4 million.

Still, it’s the biggest October on record since the federal background check system rolled out in 1998. As the firearms industry heads into its busiest selling season, NICS could secure its biggest year ever by the end of November.