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November 2019 Firearms NICS Checks Numbers Explained

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Article by Ammoland.com

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- To truly understand the recent reported NICS data, we are going to start with basics and then drill into some numbers. If you want to understand more fully, go to the FBI website for all NICS details.

What is a NICS check?

NICS is a national system that checks available records on persons who may be disqualified from receiving firearms. The FBI developed the system through a cooperative effort with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and local and state law enforcement agencies.

Approximate United States Firearms Sales (January 1999 to November 2019)

November NICS checks – What the numbers are really saying.

Total November NICS checks are reported at 2,545,863 vs November 2018 at 2,363,705. That’s an increase of 182,158 NICS checks (7.7% increase).
Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, these facts don’t tell the whole story.

NICS and Adjusted NICS are impacted by two significant factors:

  1. Impact of Permit Checks and Re-checks
  2. State Requirements on NICS checks

Impact of Permit Checks and Re-checks

Understanding NICS checks is not easy, which is one reason NSSF publishes “Adjusted NICS” to take out permit checks and re-checks by the states. Adjusted NICS for November were 1,342,155 vs last year at 1,314,193. Of the 2,545,863 total NICS checks, 1,203,745 of those were permit checks/re-checks.

Most interesting is there were more NICS checks/re-checks in November than there were handgun and Long gun purchases combined.

  • Permit Re-checks: 894,966
  • Permit Checks: 308,742
  • Total Permit checks: 1,203,708
  • Handgun Checks: 637,123
  • Long Gun Checks: 557,445
  • Total Handgun/Long Gun NICS checks: 1,194,568

The bottom line for November, Adjusted NICS increased 27,962 NICS checks, that’s a 2.1% increase. But that’s not true either as some state requirements shifted.

Impact of State NICS Check Requirements

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This is the part that most people do not understand. There are currently 25 states that have “Alternate Brady Laws”.

This means that 25 states use the current NICS background check to serve as the NICS check when purchasing a firearm.

Last year there were 27 states that did not have to duplicate checks.

This year, Alabama and Minnesota were required to do a NICS check. As a result of that change, those two states had 38,939 more NICS checks in November vs last year. That’s more than the 27,962 increase in adjusted NICS checks.

More states required to do checks results in more NICS checks.

Long Gun vs Handgun data

The most interesting data is comparing Long Guns to Handguns. In November, Handguns checks were 14% larger than Long Guns.

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