Figures from federal background check databases suggest that a near-record amount of people purchased firearms over the counter last year. 

The mountain of 38,573,127 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System last year, when analyzed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to remove gun permit checks and rechecks by states that use NICS for that purpose, yields a more dependable 18,515,188 checks pointing towards sales. This makes the year 2021 the second-highest year for background checks for gun sales, behind only 2020’s record of over 21 million background checks for a gun sale. 

However, as multiple firearms can be transferred on a single check, person-to-person sales in most states do not require checks, and 25 states accept carry permits in lieu of checks, the actual numbers are likely much higher. 

"The fact that over 18.5 million Americans chose to lawfully purchase a firearm in 2021 is indicative of the value Americans hold of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms," Mark Oliva, NSSF's public affairs director, told Guns.com. "This has all occurred as Americans have taken stock of their personal safety concerns and their fundamental, God-given rights. This has also happened as the firearm industry faced significant challenges and new opportunities."

Oliva pointed out that, at the same time, manufacturers announced significant investments in expansion and relocation, signaling the anticipation for continued growth. 

"The 2021 totals of 18.5 million background checks for a firearm sale prove the work to preserve and grow this vital industry is essential and the men and women of this industry are able more than capable of meeting the growing demand for lawful firearm ownership," said Olvia. 

Banner image: Ruger Super GP100 (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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