Estimated gun sales decline in April

Estimated gun sales declined 4 percent last month, according to federal data.

Dealers processed nearly 2.2 million applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in April.  Estimated gun sales — the sum total of transfers in the NICS’s handgun, long gun, multiple and other categories — totaled just over 1 million, trailing last year by less than 50,000 checks. It’s the fourth strongest April on record, according to federal data.

NICS checks serve as a proxy measure for gun sales, albeit an imperfect one. Applications for concealed carry permits, periodic rechecks for maintaining licenses and a slew of smaller categories for pawns, redemptions, rentals and other rare situations undercut the total amount of checks processed in one month. removes these categories from the total figure to more accurately assess actual transfers, though it’s still an estimate.

Dealers processed more than 563,000 applications for handguns and just under 376,000 applications for long guns in April. The numbers reflect a return to historic seasonal norms as gun sales slow in the spring and summer before picking up with the fall hunting season.

Share prices for major gun makers slipped marginally after the news broke. Analysts shrugged off the slump after NICS posted the second busiest March on record as a result of threatened gun regulations in the wake of the Parkland massacre.

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