Data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) show background checks on the sale of firearms jumped 23.3 percent in February when compared to February 2008. The increase follows a 29 percent rise in January, a 24 percent rise in December and a 42 percent jump in November, when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.
The continuing increase in firearm sales coincides with an ATF announcement yesterday that firearm retailers may continue to photocopy the Form 4473 — the federal document required for purchase of a firearm from a licensed retailer — in its entirety until they receive requested backorders from the Distribution Center.
FBI background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed retailers. These checks serve as a strong indicator of actual sales.
“Since November, sales of firearms — in particular handguns and semi-automatic hunting and target rifles — are fast outpacing inventory,” said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. “Americans are clearly concerned about their ability to be able to purchase these products in an uncertain future.”
NICS reported 1,259,078 checks in February, up from 1,021,130 in the same month a year ago.
NSSF, founded in 1961, is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition and recreational shooting sports industry. It promotes the safe ownership and responsible use of products its members make and sell. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.