FBI gun background checks, linked closely to weapons sales, recorded the second-highest month ever in December, propelling 2019’s count to the most since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System began in 1998.
The agency said Monday morning that it recorded 28,369,750 background checks in 2019, a 3% jump over the last record set in 2016.
In December, there were 2,936,894 NICS checks, the second-highest month ever.
The 2016 record, pushed high in part because gun control advocate Hillary Rodham Clinton was expected to beat President Trump, was not expected to be steamrolled this year.
But gun shops around the nation saw a surge in sales because of highly publicized shootings, cheap prices, and an increase in states eager to impose controls on sales, bans, and even confiscations of weapons.
Overall, NICS checks were up 831,077 over 2016. The system conducts background checks for those buying weapons and seeking carry permits.
What’s more, with the 2020 election just 11 months away and all Democratic presidential candidates pushing gun control agendas, it could be another record year of sales and NICS checks, especially if the contest is close.
“The firearms industry had reason to celebrate in 2019. NICS checks are now increasing,” said Larry Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the industry representative.
“What a year it has been!” said Justin Anderson, marketing director for Hyatt Guns, one of the nation’s largest sellers, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Politics have traditionally fueled industry growth, and this year’s historic NICS record is no different. Intelligent people are seeing the writing on the wall — whether it be Virginia’s test case for gun confiscation or threats of another world war on the horizon. They are arming themselves. Anti-gun politicians should take note. While an armed populace is a polite populace, they do not take well to threats to their freedom,” he told Secrets.