NICS Background Checks for Gun Sales Up in December 2019

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Federal background check data suggests a 4 percent increase in the number of gun sales nationwide last month (Photo: Eger/

December 2019 saw a bump in the number of firearm background checks when compared to the same month in 2018.

The unadjusted figures of 2,898,501 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month is a 15.1 percent jump from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,517,286 in December 2018.

When adjusted — removing figures for gun permit checks and rechecks by states which use NICS for that purpose — the latest total remains an impressive 1,553,965, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the U.S. gun industry. This number is 4-percent higher when compared to the December 2018 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,494,087.

December 2019 is also the eighth month in a row that the number of adjusted checks was higher than the previous year’s data and 2019 ended with overall higher figures than were seen in 2018.

The true number of guns sold nationwide is likely higher. It should be noted that NICS numbers do not include private gun sales in most states or cases where a carry permit is used as alternatives to the background check requirements of the 1994 Brady law which allows the transfer of a firearm over the counter by a federal firearms license holder without first performing a NICS check.

Over 20 states accept personal concealed carry permits or licenses as Brady exemptions.

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