The April 2023 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,369,296 is an increase of 0.7 percent compared to the April 2022 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,359,908. For comparison, the unadjusted April 2023 FBI NICS figure 2,616,729 reflects a 3.3 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,534,057 in April 2022.
April 2023 marks the 45th month in a row that has exceeded 1 million adjusted background checks in a single month as well as the 3rd highest reported figure for April.
Please note: Twenty-four states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers.
The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF started subtracting permit rechecks in February 2016.
Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms.
It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.
More From Mark Oliva, NSSF’s Managing Director of Public Affairs
“April’s uptick of 1,369,296 FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications shows that there continues to be a steady appetite for lawful firearm ownership even as certain state governors and legislators are taking radical measures to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms, especially the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR).”
“A deeper dive into the data shows that Washington state tallied 71,272 adjusted background checks in April 2023, compared to 49,641 in April 2022. That’s a 43.6 percent increase at the same time the legislature passed and Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law banning the sale or transfer of MSRs. Illinois posted a total of 39,954 adjusted background checks in April 2023, compared to 35,790 in April 2022, an 11.7 percent increase year-over-year. NSSF recently won a decision in federal court to block Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s ban on MSRs there. Oregon, a state with a legislature and governor’s office hostile to lawful firearm ownership, totaled 43,574 adjusted background checks in April 2023, compared to 27,921 a year ago, representing a 56.1 percent increase.”
“Notably, North Carolina’s legislature overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that repealed the state’s antiquated Jim Crow-era permit-to-purchase a handgun scheme which immediately reverted the state to using the FBI NICS system to verify all handgun sales. North Carolina came in with 68,181 background checks in April 2023, compared to 18,967 in April 2022, a 238.4 percent increase.”
“These figures show that when Americans are concerned that government authorities will deny them the full spectrum of their Second Amendment rights, they will respond by exercising those rights. It also shows that when barriers to lawful firearm ownership are torn down, law-abiding citizens will exercise their right to lawfully purchase firearms.”
About NSSF—The Firearm Industry Trade Association
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.
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