December Record Month for NICS Checks; 58.6% increase marks 31st straight month over month increase; New record also set in Ohio

by Chad D. Baus

According to a press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the December 2012 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,237,731 is an increase of 58.6 percent over the NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,410,937 in December 2011. For comparison, the unadjusted December 2012 NICS figure of 2,776,105 reflects a 49.7 percent increase from the unadjusted NICS figure of 1,854,400 in December 2011.

This marks the 31st straight month that NSSF-adjusted NICS figures have increased when compared to the same period the previous year. The number reported for December 2012 is the highest monthly figure ever reported for NICS, eclipsing the previous high in November 2012 by 46.7 percent.

The NSSF-adjusted NICS 2012 year-end figure of 13,780,285 was a 27.7 percent increase over the 2011 year-end total of 10,791,275. For comparison, the unadjusted NICS year-end figure of 19,436,832 in 2012 was an increase of 19.0 percent over the 2011 year-end total of 16,336,732.

The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks used by several states such as Kentucky, Iowa and Michigan for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases.

Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide a more accurate picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions of firearms sales and transfers on new and used handguns and long guns.

According to the The Marion Star, purchasers of firearms also set a record here in the Buckeye State.

From the article:

Licensed firearms dealers in the state queried the National Instant Criminal Background Check System a record 102,531 times in December and nearly 40 percent more than the previous record. Overall in 2012, Ohio dealers ran 629,215 names through the NICS, an increase of more than 34 percent compared to 2011.

Prospective buyers are screened before the cashier rings up any sale involving guns or explosives at a federally licensed shop. More than 5 million such routine checks have been performed in Ohio since the NICS was launched in November 1998. That means at least that many guns have been sold and almost certainly more because customers can buy multiple guns in a single sale. Nationally, about one in 160 checks turn up a disqualifying characteristic, such as a domestic violence conviction, and result in a denial.

December, the month of gift-giving, generally has more background requests than any other month of the year, according to the NCIS figures. However, the average number of background checks from Ohio dealers run during the month of December from 1998 through 2012 was a little more than 40,000.

The previous record-holder didn't have the spot for long. In November, a then-record 74,534 Ohioans were run through the NICS after many hypothesized that the re-election of President Barack Obama would somehow restrict the ability of Americans to buy guns. November 2008, when Obama was first elected, had the highest number of checks at that time, although it has been bested five times since.

Rod Cooper, owner of Rod's Guns and More in Marion, is quoted as saying "after the Connecticut incident, (sales) exploded."

The AR-15 already was an in-demand item, Cooper said. Fear of an impending assault rifle ban and the attention cast specifically on the AR-15 might have made it even more sought after.

Cooper declined to say how many he sold in December for competitive reasons, but he did divulge that he "sold more last month than in any single year."

"If you'd come in right now, you'd say 'Geez, where all the guns?' They're selling out, and I'm having trouble restocking," he said.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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