The nation's firearm background check system saw some of its heaviest usage on record last month, logging the third busiest April on record. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System saw 2,534,057 checks initiated in April 2022, one of the highest figures for that month logged since NICS was established in 1998. When compared to April 2021's NICS figure of 3,485,016, it stands at a 27.3 percent decrease but, when stacked against the other nearly two dozen Aprils on record, it comes in at third place, well higher than any pre-COVID year. 

Looking further, when the data is crunched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to remove gun permit checks/rechecks to distill the data into likely firearm transfers, the figure stands at 1,359,908, which is a shallower 19.7 percent drop compared to the April 2021 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,694,118. As with the raw data, the adjusted figures are the third-highest since the program was established. 

NICS April figures
April 2022's NICS background checks numbers for likely gun sales through FFLs is the third highest on record, only bested by the figures for 2020 and 2021, years fueled by election-year politics, COVID uncertainty, and widespread civil unrest in urban centers. (Chart: NSSF) 


A New Normal

"April’s NSSF Adjusted NICS figures of 1,359,908 shows that there is a steady and sustained appetite for lawful firearm ownership in America," Mark Oliva, NSSF's director of public affairs, told about the latest NICS numbers. "April’s figure continues the streak of more than 1 million background checks for the sale of a firearm for 33 months and demonstrates that the firearm industry continues to meet America’s strong demand for lawful firearm ownership.

"It is clear that those looking for the 'new normal' of firearm sales following the two outsized years of 2020 and 2021 can find all the evidence needed to know that law-abiding citizens are turning out by the millions each month to exercise their Second Amendment rights," said Oliva. 

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