Federal background checks data points to the firearms industry continuing its current boom, with May 2021 logging the second-highest figures on record for the month. 

The unadjusted number of 3,206,589 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System for last month is a 4.6 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 3,066,740 in May 2020-- a period that was deep in the spiral of COVID lockdown controversy and public disorder that swept the country last year.

When the figures are adjusted — removing data for gun permit checks and rechecks by states which use NICS for that purpose — the latest total stands at 1,324,419, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the U.S. gun industry. While this number is a 17 percent decrease when compared against the May 2020 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,595,790, it is the second strongest May in the NICS system's 22-year history.

 

NICS date for May over the past 22 years via NSSF
May 2021, while logging fewer checks than last May, still tilts towards the trend of over 1.3 million guns sold, which puts it way above pre-COVID data, even going back to the Obama administration. (Graph: NSSF)

 

It should also be noted that the true number of guns sold across the country is likely higher than what NICS figures suggest. The data does 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.

Some 25 states accept at least one form of personal concealed carry permit or license as Brady exemptions. 

 

"The continued record level of background checks for firearm sales demonstrates that Americans are voting with their wallets when it comes to firearm ownership and their Second Amendment rights." - Mark Oliva, NSSF. 

 

The latest figures are hardly surprising to the firearm industry, which is battling against the Biden administration’s continued public attacks on gun rights of law-abiding citizens, asserts the NSSF. 

"Anyone looking for the root causes of why this continues can easily see the reasons," Mark Oliva, public affairs director for the trade group, told Guns.com. "These include the nomination of David Chipman, a paid gun control lobbyist and gun control zealot, who admitted before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he wants to ban the most popular selling rifle in America, along with the administration’s proposed rule to redefine unfinished firearm parts as completed firearms and the pending proposal to reclassify pistol fitted with a brace as items strictly controlled by the National Firearms Act. These actions show the contempt this administration holds for gun owners."

Oliva says the reaction is predictable.

"The continued record level of background checks for firearm sales demonstrates that Americans are voting with their wallets when it comes to firearm ownership and their Second Amendment rights," he stressed. "The White House and Congress are blatantly disregarding the will of their constituents by chasing special interest gun control policies. Americans are telling them month after month exactly where they stand when it comes to gun rights."

Going on record, the NSSF, as well as a host of pro-gun member groups, adamantly oppose the nomination of David Chipman for the head of the ATF, calling him "extremely biased and unqualified."  

Banner photo: Rock River Arms LAR-15 MSR with a Daniel Defense quad rail in the Guns.com vault. 

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