Long gun sales surged in New York last month

New York’s estimated long gun sales surged in May to a five-year high for the month, according to federal data.

New York gun dealers processed 12,857 applications for potential long gun purchases through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, outpacing last year by 19 percent.

Background checks serve as the industry’s best guess at gun sales, although it is imprecise. Guns.com estimates checks amounted to about 927,000 gun transfers nationwide, with more than 512,000 handguns and nearly 316,000 long guns flying off the shelves.

Licensed gun dealers sold about 5.4 million guns through the first five months of 2017, about 395,000 behind last year.

May, typically a slower month for the gun industry overall, likewise posted the lowest numbers of the year. In the case of New York, long gun checks slipped 12 percent from April.

May’s total background checks, however, bested 2016 by 6 percent. It was an unexpected development in a news cycle dominated by the enduring “Trump slump” narrative.

New York’s long gun sales, too, moved into unexpected territory last month as the state claimed the number five spot nationwide for NICS checks in that category. It put the Empire State in the company of Florida, Texas, California and Ohio — regulars high on the list of total monthly NICS checks.