May 2020 firearms sales jump 75.2% over prior year

The wave of increased gun sales that followed the government's response to a pandemic continued in May.

The May 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,595,790 is an increase of 75.2 percent compared to the May 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 910,910. For comparison, the unadjusted May 2020 FBI NICS figure 3,066,740 reflects a 32.1 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,320,918 in May 2019.

The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF started subtracting permit rechecks in February 2016.

Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms. It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.

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