Background checks rebound in February, but still trail 2016

Federal background checks rebounded last month after bottoming out in January, though applications remain down overall compared to 2016.

The latest numbers point toward the stagnation industry analysts predicted would occur under the new, gun-friendly presidential administration.

Firearms dealers processed 1,298,208 adjusted background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background System in February, a 25 percent increase over January, but still 12 percent behind the same month last year — the system’s biggest in its 18-year history.

Adjusted background checks subtract non-sales related checks from the total monthly number, giving the industry a more accurate figure used to approximate gun sales nationwide.

Handgun checks recovered 25 percent last month, according to the NICS data. Likewise, long gun checks increased about 12 percent over January.

Comparing FBI NICS Data


  • 1,298,208 adjusted checks in February 2017
  • 1,038,365 adjusted checks in January 2017
  • 1,487,274 adjusted checks in February 2016


  • 421,678 in February 2017
  • 366,099 checks in January 2017
  • 468,229 checks in February 2016


  • 717,930 checks in February 2017
  • 562,597 checks in January 2017
  • 848,215 checks in February 2016

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