The January 2021 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,052,130 is an increase of 75.2 percent compared to the January 2020 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,171,478. For comparison, the unadjusted January 2021 FBI NICS figure 4,288,240 reflects a 61.7 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,652,263 in January 2020.
Three of the top 10 weeks and one top 10 single day for the highest number of FBI NICS background checks occurred in January 2021.
Please note: Twenty-five 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. Michigan had law changes that affected their Brady Law standing which removed qualifying alternate permits usage for firearm transactions. These changes went into effect March 3, 2020. NSSF-adjusted NICS for the state of Michigan in January 2021 were 264.4 percent higher than January 2020 which accounts for an additional 57,016 checks over the same time period.
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.
Analysis from Mark Oliva, NSSF Director of Public Affairs:
It can’t be discounted that many of these background checks for the purchase of a firearm are attributed to threats by the Biden administration to enact the most radical and far-reaching gun control agenda ever proposed. Americans are continuing to purchase firearms at a blistering pace. That’s undoubtedly connected to President Joe Biden’s plans to attack the firearm industry by undoing and rewriting regulations and executive actions to target the firearm industry, which started with freezing the publication of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s “Fair Access” banking rule. The Biden administration interfered with an independent government agency to further an agenda and perpetuate the illegal Operation Choke Point by farming it out to corporate banks. That was just the opening salvo.
President Biden promised to pursue the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), weaponize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to revoke licenses for minor clerical errors and ban entire classes of firearms from lawful ownership and tax or seize modern sporting rifles (MSRs), or AR-15 style rifles, and magazines in a scheme that would cost those owners an estimated $34 billion for the privilege to own what they already lawfully own.
The Biden administration has yet to put forth a single proposal to tackle the crime, lawlessness, rioting and looting that has plagued this nation for the year.
January’s NICS figures clearly spell out that the demand of law-abiding Americans to purchase firearms isn’t abating. It is growing. Three of the top 10 weeks and one top 10 single day for the highest number of FBI NICS background checks occurred in January. Taken into context that all but one of the top 10 weeks and four other top 10 single-day records occurred during the 2020, when 21 million background checks were conducted, these are a jaw-dropping figures to start the New Year. Americans are claiming their Second Amendment rights to provide for their own safety in record numbers.
Reaction from Everytown for Gun Safety:
“As the country reels from multiple crises, the gun industry has cashed in with record sales that have made Americans less safe,” said Nick Suplina, managing director of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Without swift changes in policy, our already devastating gun violence epidemic could get even deadlier. The good news, though, is that we finally have leaders in the White House and in both chambers of Congress who recognize that this crisis demands action.”