The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released “adjusted” National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figures on April 3, showing that checks in March 2017 were up 5.2 percent over figures for March 2016.
By “adjusted,” the NSSF means they took the raw, total number of background checks for March 2017 and “[subtracted] out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by several states such as Connecticut, Illinois, and Utah for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases.”
This adjustment process whittles down NICS checks to better represent retail gun sales alone.
In a press release sent to Breitbart News, NSSF reports the number of NICS checks for March 2017 was 2,422,749. But after adjusting checks–eliminating those that were not the result of sales–the figure was 1,356,929. The number of NSSF-adjusted NICS checks for March 2016 was 1,289,670. This means the number of checks actually connected to gun sales increased 5.2 percent in March 2017.
The number of NICS checks–including NSSF-adjusted checks–is not a precise indicator of the number of guns sold, as checks are conducted on buyers rather than guns bought. Moreover, each buyer may legally purchase multiple guns after passing a background check, which means an adjusted figure of 1,36,929 checks may not even come close to representing the number of guns sold.
NSSF also reminds readers that “NSSF-adjusted NICS figures do not account for firearm sales using approved alternate permits, such as a concealed carry license.” In other words, in some states, concealed permit holders get to bypass a point-of-sale background check when buying a gun at retail. NSSF-adjusted figures do not cover such sales.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.