Guns Sales and NICS Background Checks Break all Records in March 2020

gun sales

The NICS numbers for March 2020, established new, all-time records for both the number of projected sales as well as the numbers of NICS background checks done in one month.

The previous record for one month was set in December of 2015. In December of 2015, there were 3,314,594 NICS background checks done. The number of recorded long gun, handgun, other and multiple x (2.5) were recorded as 2,213,121 firearms, as a good approximation.

In March of 2020, the NICS background checks done were 3,709,562. That is an increase of 12% more than the record set in December of 2015.

Image courtesy David Scott and Dean Weingarten

The approximation of firearm sales for March of 2020 was 2,373,193. That is an increase in sales of 7% more than the previous record in December of 2015.

It has been noted before that NICS checks for carry permits and carry permit rechecks have been increasing much faster than checks for firearm sales.

The NICS sales figures are nearly twice as many as were recorded in March of 2019. In March of 2019, the total sales were 1,213,027. The increase from March of 2019 was 96%.

The Trump Slump has become the Trump Bump. Gun stores had customers lined up to purchase what was available. Pawnshops were nearly emptied of guns.

Large numbers of voters (most people who are not allowed to vote are not allowed to purchase firearms) decided, in a crisis, they would rather have a firearm and not need it, than need a firearm and not have it.

Several publications around the nation reported that large numbers of people purchasing guns in March were people who did not have guns.

As seen in the chart, most of the purchases were for handguns instead of long guns.

The numbers for March were: Handguns, 1,392,677 NICS checks, long guns, 758,073 NICS checks, other (mostly receivers, which could be made into either handguns or long guns) 79,129 and multiple 57,328. Multiple checks are multiplied by 2.5 to approximate the number of gun sales.

Americans, when faced with emergency declarations, the potential of loss of jobs, and numerous places releasing prisoners, decided it was better to be armed than unarmed.  Support for restrictions on gun ownership has been pushed by the media. The popular support is shallow, as long as it applies to other people. That support is greatly diminished when the population decides they might need a firearm of their own.

The NICS system backed up. There were waits of several hours to get through. For many places, the automatic approval in three days went into effect.

It is unknown how many firearms were sold to people with carry permits. At last count, 24 states have systems in place where a carry permit is an acceptable substitute for a NICS check, because the NICS check has already been done on the carry permit. There are variations according to each state.

Those states are, according to the ATF, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

In California, only the Entertainment Firearms Permit is acceptable to bypass the NICS check.

Using the figures available, there were about 430 million private firearms in the United States at the end of 2018. About 18.6 million have been added since then, just short of 450 million at this point.

The United States is on track to reach 500 million privately owned firearms by the end of 2024.

About Dean Weingarten: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.


  1. Excellent!
    From what I’ve read, many of these buyers are first time gun owners, so they will be averse to the incessant infringements sought by the dems.
    I would guess that for each million new gun owners, our likelihood of falling into tyranny drops by 5%.

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