U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The National Instant background Check System (NICS) checks for February 2020, have broken all the previous records for the month, with 2,776,380 checks. This signifies very little because more than half of the NICS checks are for carry permits and carry permit rechecks.
Illinois and Kentucky perform hundreds of thousands of permit rechecks every month, skewing the system, which renders the total number useless for estimating gun sales.
Instead of total NICS checks, we now calculate a much closer approximation of total gun sales, consisting of NICS checks done for handguns + checks for long guns + checks for other guns + 2.5 x checks done for multiple sales on the 4473 form.
Handguns + Longuns + Others + 2.5xMulti = 1,244,177 firearm sales recorded in NICS in February of 2020.
Last year, in 2019, the numbers were handguns (601,381), Longuns (355,744), Other (43,426) and Multiple x 2.5 (59,705) total gun sales of 1,060,255.
February 2020 sales were up 17% from last year.
February 2020 sales are slightly higher than the number in 2018 (1,228,888).
The February 2020 numbers are less than 14% below the all-time record set in February of 2016, of 1,413,828, which was extraordinarily high for February, one of the top ever months in NICS history.
In February of 2016, the numbers were: handguns (848,213) Long Guns (468,229) Other (25,533) and 2.5 x Multiple (71,853).
It is not difficult to find several factors for the high levels of gun sales in February 2020. The economy is booming (pun intended). High levels of advanced manufacturing, with a high level of competition, has pushed gun prices to historically low levels in constant dollars, while maintaining high levels of functional, if not esthetic, quality.
It has never been cheaper, in terms of hours worked, to acquire such high levels of function for such little work.
People can purchase a new AR-15 clone for less than they could purchase an M1 carbine surplus, in constant dollars, after WWII, in 1965.
The price then, by Hunters Lodge, in the April issue of the American Rifleman, was $59.95, $79.95 for “very good” condition. The rifle included two 15 round magazines, with additional magazines of $1 each.
$1 in 1965 is $8.19 in 2020, after calculating for inflation. A very good carbine, surplus, in 1965 sold for the constant dollar equivalent of $655 today.
There are many AR-15 clones available for far less than that new, with warranties. They are more powerful, more accurate, just as reliable, and easier to mount optics on and customize. There many more aftermarket accessories available.
Low prices, a hot economy, and severe political threats by the Democrat candidates for President, and Democrat legislatures in Virginia, Washington State, California, Maryland, and New York, have created a perfect cauldron of ingredients to combine into strong firearm sales.
The only thing holding down sales is the Donald Trump Presidency and his Supreme Court appointment of originalist and textualist judges because they are expected to start restoring Second Amendment protections.
People are waiting to see with the NYSR&PA v. NYC decision due this spring before they panic.
That decision will give a measure of the sense of the Supreme Court on restoring Second Amendment rights and removing the ever-increasing infringements tolerated by the appeals courts in some states.
President Trump is making great noises about protecting the Second Amendment, but the bump stock regulation has many Second Amendment supporters nervous.
Legislation to address the many infringements which have been baked into Federal regulations over the last 85 years, will not be passed with the Democrats in charge of the House.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.