The number of background checks on firearm sales, transfers, and concealed carry applications reached a record high in 2019, according to FBI figures released on Monday.
The agency reports that there were nearly 3-million background checks performed in December, which propelled the total number of NICS checks in 2019 to 28,369,750. That’s 3% higher than the previous record set back in 2016, when concerns over a possible Hillary Clinton presidency drove gun sales to near record highs. This year’s increase was likely driven by calls by presidential candidates like Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke to ban and confiscate all semi-automatic rifles in the country, alongside House Democrats voting in favor of a “universal background check” bill.
While the NICS numbers aren’t a perfect snapshot of gun sales (sales involving multiple firearms will only result in one NICS check, for instance) they are a pretty good proxy for interest in the Second Amendment.
Justin Anderson, marketing director at Hyatt Guns told the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard that he expects another big year in 2020.
“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.
If you go back and look at the number of background checks performed by the FBI, you can see that election-year spikes didn’t begin until 2008, when Barack Obama, who backed a ban on handguns while a state Senator in Illinois, defeated John McCain for the presidency. That spike in 2008 resulted in nearly 13-million NICS checks performed. Compare that to the nearly 29-million background checks performed in 2019, and you can see how robust the growth has been in support for the Second Amendment over the past decade.
This bodes well for another record-setting year in 2020. Not only are we assured that the eventual Democrat nominee will be the most anti-gun presidential candidate in U.S. history, but anti-gun lawmakers from Virginia to Washington State will be busy trying to enact sweeping restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. I wouldn’t be surprised if we surpass 30-million NICS checks this year. I just hope every one of those gun owners gets out and votes, or else they’ll likely find their new purchases are now illegal for them to continue to own.