Americans continue to practice their right to keep and bear arms, with data showing over-the-counter gun sales passed the 1 million mark for the 42nd month in a row. 
Last month saw a healthy jump in terms of federal background checks for gun transfers, logging one of the best Januarys on record since the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System was established over 20 years ago. 

While the unadjusted figures of 2,612,736 checks conducted through NICS last month represent a 3.1 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,533,096 in January 2022, the data gets even better when you take a closer look.

When the numbers for last month were adjusted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to remove gun permit checks and rechecks, the adjusted figure stands at 1,268,236, which is a bump of 6.5 percent compared to the January 2022 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,190,856. 

Going past the NICS data, the true number of guns sold nationwide is even higher.

This is because federal background check numbers don't 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. 

Still, industry analysts say the NICS figure, marking 3.5 years straight that month figures have blown past the 1 million sales mark, shows where Americans' hearts and wallets are when it comes to the national conversation on guns.

"January’s background checks for firearm sales at retail show an encouraging and healthy 1.2 million total," Mark Oliva, public affairs officer with the NSSF, told via email. "That indicates that the appetite for lawful firearm ownership continues to be a priority for the American public."

Olive noted that this flies in the face of antigun sentiment by certain governors and members of Congress who "ignore these trends and instead of focusing on reducing crime, holding criminals accountable and making their communities safer, only focus on instituting roadblocks and denying the rights of those who obey the law. Americans, by the millions each month, are taking ownership of their Second Amendment rights."

Banner image: American Flag Desert Eagle pistol from Minnesota-based Magnum Research, photographed at SHOT Show 2023. (Photo: Chris Eger/

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