March Sees Highest Number of Daily, Weekly NICS Checks in History

A DB15 Diamondback AR-15 pistol, right side view

Late March saw the highest number of FBI NICS checks processed in the agency’s history. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System recently logged its highest volume day and week in history.

The system, used to clear firearms transfers by FFLs since November 1998 as a result of the 1993 Brady Bill, peaked on March 20 with a tally of 210,308 checks performed. This number passed the two previous records set for Black Friday 2017 (203,086 checks) and Black Friday 2019 (202,465 checks). Further, the new fourth and fifth place highest NICS days are March 21, 2020 (185,751) and March 19, 2020 (185,742)– both within the same week as the current first-place day. The same week saw March 17 and March 18 garner the bottom two spots in the NICS “top 10 days” list.

With five of the top 10 days in NICS traffic history, the week of March 16-22 currently stands at the top of the platform’s “highest week” list with 1,197,788 checks performed in a seven-day period. This is a quarter-million more than the now-second-place week, recorded at the end of 2012 during the post-Sandy Hook gun rush, an all-time record that held for the past eight years.

NICS checks Top 10 chart

The top 10 NICS days and weeks since 1998, as of March 31, 2020. (Graphic: FBI)

It should be noted that total NICS checks numbers include figures for gun permit checks and rechecks by states which use the platform for that purpose.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation adjusted the total figures for last month and concluded the number of checks for firearm transfers for March 2020 stands at 2,375,525 which is an increase of 80.4 percent compared to the March 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,317,114.

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