The National Instant Check System (NICS) performs a check when people buy firearms from federally licensed dealers in the United States. It is also used to perform background checks on people applying for firearm carry permits in those states where such permits are required or offered by law. As there are now over 15 million carry permits in the United States, and firearm sales numbers are in the 10 to 20 million range per year, you can see that the number of NICS checks is not a perfect fit for the number of firearms sold.
One of the reasons for this is that one check can be used to purchase multiple firearms, and most people with carry permits are not required to have an instant check performed when they purchase a firearm. They had it done when they obtained their permit.
We have a good measure of how many additional firearms are added to the U.S. private stock each year. That number is compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The ATF tracks licensed firearm manufacture, import, and export numbers. Those numbers are assembled each year. ATF takes about 18 months to process the numbers and publish them. We do not have data on how many used firearms are sold by dealers. Presumably, they fall into the 40% of NICS checks that are done in excess of the new firearms added.
You can compare the ATF increase in the private firearms stock with the NICS checks done for that year. The correlation is very high, with r= .9776. 1.0 would be a perfect fit. At that correlation level, I have confidence in predicting the increase in private firearms from the NICS numbers.
Over the fifteen years that have been recorded, there have been 1.685 NICS checks for each additional firearm added to the private stock in the United States. Multiplying the NICS check numbers (provided monthly by the FBI) by .5934 gives us a good approximation of the firearms added.
At the end of 2013, the private firearm stock in the United States is estimated at 363.3 million firearms. 16 million were added in 2013. According the the FBI figures, the NICS checks for 2014 were 20.969 million. That would be another 12.44 million firearms added in 2014.
In the first seven months of 2015, there were an additional 12.067 million NICS checks. Another 7.16 million firearms were added. Continuing that rate for the whole year would bring the total to 12.277 million added in 2015.
At the end of 2015, the stock should be at 388+ million firearms. Given the current trend, another 12 million or more firearms will be added in 2016, bringing the total stock to 400 million+ firearms by the end of the Obama presidency.
At the end of 2008 and the beginning of the Obama presidency, there were about 308 million private firearms in the United States. After eight years of President Obama in the highest executive position, I predict that there will be over 400 million.
If the trend for 2013 only is applied to 2014 and 2015 (based on the NICS numbers they are very similar), the 400 million mark will be reached by the end of May, 2016, and by the end of the year, there will be about 409 million private firearms in the United states.
That is a net gain of between 92 million and 101 million firearms in eight years, making President Obama the greatest firearm salesman of all time.
Source for NICS numbers: From fbi.gov(pdf)
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Link to Gun Watch