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In July 2023, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure, adjusted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), reached 1,023,903. This represents a 17.0 percent decline compared to July 2022’s NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,233,115.
The unadjusted July 2023 FBI NICS figure stood at 1,987,650, marking a 15.7 percent drop from July 2022’s unadjusted figure of 2,358,150.
Despite the decline, July 2023 marked the 48th consecutive month—four full years—that the number of adjusted background checks surpassed one million in a single month.
Currently, 24 states have at least one qualified alternative permit under the Brady Act. This allows permit-holders, who have already passed a background check, to buy a firearm without undergoing another background check for the transfer. These legal transfers, based on qualifying permits, are not included in the NICS check count in these states, and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers.
The adjusted NICS data was calculated by subtracting NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks, used by states for CCW permit application checks and checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF began this adjustment method in February 2016.
While not directly correlating to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide additional insight into current market conditions. NICS is used, among other purposes, to check transactions for the sale or transfer of new or used firearms.
These statistics denote the number of firearm background checks initiated through NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or the total sales dollars. Given differing state laws, local market conditions, and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation between a firearm background check and a firearm sale cannot be established.
Mark Oliva, NSSF managing director of public affairs, commented on this trend, stating, “This is a remarkable milestone of four continuous years of over 1 million background checks for the sale of a firearm. It’s indicative of the strong, sustained demand by law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Despite the continuous attacks by the Biden administration on these rights, the firearm and ammunition industry continues to meet the high-quality expectations of today’s gun owners.”
Oliva further added, “Americans are sending a clear signal each month. The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not up for negotiation.”
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