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The October 2023 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,370,719 is an increase of 8.3 percent compared to the October 2022 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,265,311. For comparison, the unadjusted October 2023 FBI NICS figure 2,194,313 reflects a 11.4 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,475,869 in October 2022.
October 2023 is the third-highest October on record and marks the 51st month in a row that has exceeded 1 million adjusted background checks in a single month.
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.
Comment from Mark Oliva, NSSF’s Managing Director Public Affairs
Once again, 1.3 million background checks for firearm sales at retail demonstrate the value Americans place on their Second Amendment rights. This is telling, given the stark reminders of the importance of the Second Amendment protecting the right for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones. The horrific attacks on Israel followed by the escalating hate speech toward Jewish Americans, coupled with the tragic murders in Maine, are reminders that every American has the right to legally purchase a firearm to provide for their own defense. October showed that at Americans did this 1.3 million times, extending the million-plus background checks each month to 51 consecutive months.
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.