Background checks up 12.4% in September on firearm sales

Data released by the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported 1,093,230 checks in September 2009. This figure is a 12.4 percent increase from the 973,003 reported in September 2008 and demonstrates that sale of new and used firearms are remaining strong and continuing to grow.

FBI background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing either newly manufactured or used firearms from federally licensed retailers. As such, the checks serve as a gauge of sales but do not reflect the actual number of firearms produced or sold.

The September data follows a series of monthly increases dating back to November of 2008.

The increase coincides with a rise in excise taxes reported by firearms and ammunition manufacturers, another key economic indicator for the firearms industry.

According to the most recent Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax Collection Report, firearm and ammunition manufacturers paid more than $109.8 million in the first calendar quarter of 2009, up 43 percent over the same time period in 2008. This dramatic increase follows a 31.3 percent increase in excise taxes from the previous quarter (4Q, 2008).

The total number of background checks reported since the beginning of NICS is 106,153,443.

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