December 2023 Sees Uptick in Firearm Background Checks, Capping Year’s High Demand

Industry News This Week

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Continued Growth in Firearm Background Checks: NSSF-Adjusted NICS Data

December 2023 saw a continued increase in the number of firearm background checks.

The NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure for December 2023 stood at 1,775,834, marking a 1.6 percent increase from December 2022’s figure of 1,747,506.

Comparative Analysis with FBI NICS Figures

In contrast, the unadjusted December 2023 FBI NICS figure was 2,730,855, reflecting a 10.1 percent decrease from the unadjusted figure of 3,036,531 in December 2022.

This variation continues to highlight the differences in data adjustment methods between the NSSF and FBI.

Year-End Review: 2023 in Context

December 2023 marks the 53rd consecutive month with over 1 million adjusted background checks. The fourth quarter of 2023 recorded 4,742,029 NSSF-adjusted NICS checks, up 4.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2022.

The total annual figure for 2023 was 15,848,055, making it the fourth-highest year on record, following 2020 through 2022.

NSSF-Adjusted NICS Data Explained

The NSSF’s adjustment of NICS data removes permit checks and rechecks used for Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permits.

This method, initiated in February 2016, aims for a more accurate representation of background checks for firearm sales.

It’s important to remember that in twenty-four states, legal firearm transfers based on qualifying permits do not require an additional NICS check under the Brady Act.

The NSSF-adjusted data do not count these permit-based legal transfers.

NICS and Firearm Sales: Understanding the Correlation

While the NSSF-adjusted NICS data do not directly equate to firearm sales, they offer insights into the firearms market. The data represent initiated background checks, not actual sales, reflecting diverse state laws and market conditions.

Industry Perspective: Insights from Mark Oliva

Mark Oliva, Managing Director of Public Affairs for the NSSF, commented on the December data:

Americans showed they want their Second Amendment rights by the millions – once again. These are solid figures that reflect the mood of Americans and the desire to exercise Second Amendment rights. In December alone, nearly 1.8 million times, Americans purchased a firearm at retail. That was a strong finish to cap off the 15.8 million times Americans did the same thing throughout the year. These figures are a reminder of the importance law-abiding citizens place on their personal safety and freedoms, even as the Biden-Harris administration is using a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to chill and ultimately eliminate those rights. These figures are encouraging for the firearm industry going into 2024. History indicates that background checks for the lawful sale of firearms typically rise during election years. This industry is ready to satisfy the demand for lawful firearm ownership in America.

In summary, the December 2023 NSSF-adjusted NICS data highlight an ongoing trend of increased interest and demand for firearm ownership in the United States, amid various socio-political factors.

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  • connections game January 29, 2024, 8:37 pm

    I think weapon background checks are necessary and reasonably increased in frequency to limit demand during the year, ensuring security and social order.

  • Hondo January 8, 2024, 7:27 am

    Democrats make good gun salesmen, their stupid policies sell guns at record pace.

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