December ends record setting year for gun checks

Federal data released Wednesday morning shows December had more background checks across all categories than any other month in 2016, a record setting year for the system.

There were 1,845,847 adjusted background checks logged into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, an 11 percent increase over the month before.

Adjusted checks take the total number of background checks and subtract permit checks and re-checks, giving industry analysts and trade associations an adjusted figure used to measure gun sales nationwide.

December’s increase over November follows the trend for the fourth quarter, which saw steady increases month to month.

There were 844,966 handgun checks in December, a 12.9 percent increase over the previous month. Long gun checks also ticked up by 6.7 percent in December, reaching 795,473.

A year end boost in background checks is typical, according to the federal data. But December 2016’s adjusted numbers declined 17 percent compared to December 2015. There were 1.84 million adjusted checks in December 2016, down from the 2.23 million in the same month the year before.

Still, 2016 saw the highest number of background checks since the FBI started tabulating the data in 1998. There were 27,425,512 total background checks last year. The adjusted numbers clocked in at more than 16.6 million.