FBI Says 2019 Could Set A Record For NICS Checks
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

The Christmas shopping season kicks off in full gear on Friday of this week, and the FBI says strong retail sales could push the number of NICS checks to an all-time high this year. Background checks through the National Instant Check System have been trending upwards for the last few months, and while they’re not a perfect corollary for gun sales, the NICS numbers are a fairly good barometer for the firearms industry. From USA Today:

For the first time since the bureau began conducting checks in 1998, the number of monthly checks has not fallen below 2 million this year.

With the holiday shopping season approaching, the number of background checks for 2019 could break the one-year record of 27.5 million, according to bureau records.

Analysts said the numbers suggest the industry may be emerging from the so-called “Trump slump” that followed the election of the pro-gun president.

Gun sales tend to increase when people feel their rights are threatened, which may account for the rise in background checks over the past few months. I was speaking to my local gun store owner in Farmville, Virginia on Friday and he told me that, since the state’s elections earlier this month, he’s seen a surge in sales of both AR-15’s and suppressors. In fact, according to my buddy, he’s sold more suppressors in the past month than he’s sold in the previous five years, and has sold more AR-15’s since the election than he had sold from January through October.

Granted, that’s one FFL in one state, but USA Today spoke with an Arizona gun shop owner who told a similar tale of increased sales in recent months. In his case, it wasn’t Virginia’s elections, but a failed presidential candidate who started the surge.

Matt Boggs, co-owner of Alpha Dog Firearms, said O’Rourke’s comment gave him the idea to slash prices during a weeklong “Beto Special.” He sold more than 400 firearms during the sale; typically he sells about 100 guns in a month.

“We did it because someone had the audacity to come after a U.S. citizen’s rights,” Boggs said in an interview with USA TODAY.  “A lot of (military) veterans are our customers. It had a reaction.”

Two months after the gun rush, Boggs said, visitors from New York, Texas, California and other states stop by to express their support.

“We have veterans coming back from Afghanistan and Japan dropping by to say they had heard about what we did,” Boggs said.

O’Rourke’s out of the presidential race, but now gun control sugar daddy Michael Bloomberg is in the race as a formal candidate, which could spur gun sales even higher. Frankly, the entire crop of candidates running for the Democrat nomination is more anti-gun than any presidential primary in history, even without Bloomberg’s late entry into the race, so if concern over the policies of Democrats is what’s driving the surge in sales, expect that to continue on through the election next year.