Estimated gun sales up 30 percent in November
By Christen Smith
Estimated gun sales rose 30 percent last month, according to federal data.
Dealers processed more than 2.3 million applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in November — a 17 percent increase over October. Estimated gun sales — the sum total of transfers in the NICS’s handgun, long gun, multiple and other categories — exceeded 1.3 million, representing a 30 percent spike in just one month.
The strong sales data makes November this year’s second busiest for background checks so far. Last month’s sales trail 2016, the industry’s biggest on record, by 13 percent, though it still ranks as the second highest November in the background check system’s two-decade history.
Background checks serve as a proxy measure for gun sales, however, the measurement isn’t perfect. Applications for concealed carry permits, periodic rechecks for maintaining licenses and a slew of smaller categories for pawns, redemptions, rentals and other rare situations undercut the total amount of checks processed in one month. Also, dealers submit one background check application per sale — not per gun purchased.
Gun makers and retailers alike anticipated the boost in demand as the holiday shopping season approached — historically the industry’s most profitable time of year. Background checks on Black