Firearm background check data suggests that over-the-counter gun sales surged last month to their second-highest level on record, continuing the three-year trend of topping over one million. 

While the unadjusted figures of 2,527,308 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month is a 16.9 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 3,042,379 in June 2021, that doesn't tell the full story as those figures include a myriad of checks – such as for employment and carry permits – that aren't related to gun sales.

When the numbers for last month were examined by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to remove figures for gun permit checks and rechecks, the adjusted figure stands at 1,382,287, which is a decent 8.1 percent bump compared to the June 2021 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,279,300. The only June higher than this mark was in 2020, at the height of the "summer of love" riots and Covid hysteria. 

Further, June 2022 marked the 35th month in a row that background checks for the sale of a firearm topped over 1 million. 

NSSF NICS figures June
June 2022's adjusted NICS background check numbers of likely gun sales were the second highest on record and beat last June by about 8 percent. (Chart: NSSF)

"While President Biden and gun control advocates demanded strict gun control legislation, Americans voted with their wallets that the Second Amendment is a right they are choosing to exercise by the millions every month," Mark Oliva, public affairs director with NSSF, told "The firearm industry is proud to support these law-abiding gun owners who choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights for all lawful purposes each and every day."

Of note, 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 an alternative 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.

Banner image: Springfield Armory SA35 9mm Hi-Power clone. (Photo: Chris Eger/