In the latest figures released, January 2024 saw a bit of a dip in firearm background checks. The NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) numbers came in at 1,197,294. That’s a 5.6% decrease from January last year. Even the unadjusted FBI figures dropped by 16.6% compared to the same month in 2023.
But here’s the kicker – January marks the 54th straight month where adjusted checks exceeded 1 million. That’s over four years of consistent, high interest in firearms month after month.
Before we dive deeper, here’s a quick heads-up. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story. They don’t count the legal transfers based on qualifying permits in 24 states. If you’ve got the right permit, you can skip the extra background check when buying from a dealer.
The NSSF takes the raw data and gives it a trim to get their adjusted figures. They cut out the checks that states use for concealed carry permits and ongoing permit validations. This tweak started back in 2016 to give a clearer picture of the market.
Now, remember, a background check doesn’t always equal a gun sale. With different state laws and market conditions, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. But these checks are a solid pulse on how many folks are looking to buy.
Mark Oliva, the NSSF’s managing director of public affairs, chimed in on the trend.
January’s nearly 1.2 background checks for the sale of a firearm at retail shows that America’s desire to exercise Second Amendment rights continues into 2024. For four-and-a-half years, more than 1 million background checks have been completed each and every month. This is happening this year against a backdrop of the Biden administration weaponizing nearly every lever of government to suppress Second Amendment rights by law-abiding citizens. These figures show that Americans rejects these infringements and instead choose their rights.
So, despite a slight drop in the numbers, it looks like the American spirit for 2A rights isn’t cooling off anytime soon.