Although the NICS 2021 reports have taken a slight dip from the 2020 reports, they remain strong. However, considering that 2020 was a record-setting year for NICS background checks, 2021 didn’t fall far behind. The recent NSSF-adjusted NICS background checks for December, Q4, and annual 2021 pull a very close second place.
NICS Background Checks for 2021 Signal Pro-Gun Values
Recently, the NSSF released its adjusted figures for December 2021 NICS background checks, and they total 1,792,797. According to NSSF, this is a decrease of only 6.0 percent from December of 2020, which was 1,906,916. To clarify, the adjusted figures subtract NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used for CCW application checks.
According to NSSF, “For comparison, the unadjusted December 2021 FBI NICS figure 3,080,295 reflects a 21.1 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 3,904,879 in December 2020.”
Likewise, the fourth-quarter reporting continued high figures with 4,763,439 NICS requests. Although this does reflect a 15.3 percent drop from Q4 2020, which saw 5,625,610 requests. However, fourth-quarter 2021 still remains mostly on track with the highest fourth-quarter reports in recent history.
The big news for 2021 is the annual report, which saw requests shadowed only by the record-breaking 2020 reports. Specifically, an overall total of 18,515,188 requests were filed throughout 2021 (chart at top of story). Comparatively, 2020 experienced 21,083,643 requests overall.
According to Mark Oliva, NSSF Director of Public Affairs, “The fact that over 18.5 million Americans chose [to] lawfully purchase a firearm in 2021 is indicative [of] the value Americans hold of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
“The year 2021 was the second-highest year for background checks for gun sales, behind on the 2020’s record of over 21 million background checks for a gun sale. This has all occurred as Americans have taken stock of their personal safety concerns and their fundamental, God-given rights. This has also happened as the firearm industry faced significant challenges and new opportunities.”
Numbers Don’t Equal Sales
Although the numbers are high, they do not necessarily equal the number of sales throughout the year.
According to NSSF, “Please note: Twenty-five states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers.”
Additionally, the statistics only represent the number of background checks initiated through NICS but not firearm sales or sales dollars. There are too many scenarios to make a distinction between a background check and a sale.
However, even though NICS requests are not a direct correlation to firearm sales, the data provides an additional picture of current market conditions.