If these numbers are anything to go by, then gun owners across America had a very merry Christmas this past year. The last month of 2015 not only broke the FBI NICS all-time record, it shattered it, with over 3.3 MILLION NICS checks in December. That’s over half a million more NICS checks than the previous monthly record, December of 2012, and it thoroughly stamps out the idea promoted in some media outlets that the gun industry is “waning”.
In the summer of 2014, gun sales and their associated NICS checks waned in the aftermath of the biggest consumer rush on guns in history. However, there was no question that sales would stay well above pre-2007 levels, as part of what the NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti dubbed “the new normal”. Black Friday of 2015 hammered this point home, breaking the record for most NICS checks in a single day.
As the FBI disclaimer at the bottom of the chart says, NICS checks are not a direct measure of how many guns were sold on a given day or month. Multiple guns can be sold on a single NICS check, and the tally shown in the chart above counts the number of checks initiated, counting checks that may have been rejected or delayed. NICS checks are, however, a reasonable gauge for consumer interest. NICS checks are performed by licensed gun dealers at the request of patrons, so each NICS check is indicative of at least a possible, if not definite, sale of at least one firearm.