FBI: March 2020 Firearm Background Checks Shatter Single Month Record

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2013 file photo, Ken Haiterman, of Pioneer Market, holds a CMMG 5.56mm AR 15 during the 2013 Rocky Mountain Gun Show in Sandy, Utah. A bipartisan quartet of senators, including two National Rifle Association members and two with “F” ratings from the potent firearms …
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

FBI figures released Wednesday show March 2020 shattered the single month record for the number of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks conducted in one month.

FBI numbers account for 3,740,688 background checks last month, shattering the record of 3,314,594, set in December 2015; the only other time NICS checks crossed the three million threshold for a single month.

Moreover, the number of checks conducted in March 2020 represent a nearly 30 percent increase over the number conducted in March 2019, and that period witnessed the second highest number of checks of any March in history up to that point.

For many reasons background checks alone cannot be used to determine the number of guns sold.

For example, a check is conducted on the person, not the gun. Also, a person can buy more than one gun on passing a check, so the number of checks may be far below the number of guns sold.

And many states regularly run their concealed concealed permit holders through NICS checks to be sure criminal records remain clear. First-time permit applicants are also run through the NICS system.

Each month, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) “[subtracts] 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” to come up with a baseline of checks for gun sales.

After adjusting for permit checks and renewals the NSSF reported a figure of 2,375,525 NICS checks for March 2020 versus 1,317,114 for March 2019. Those figures show an 80.4 percent increase in background checks in March 2020 versus March 2019.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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