January 18, 2022
Background checks for firearm sales in the United States remained very brisk during December 2021, pushing the year’s total to more than 18.5 million—the second highest sales year ever.
Total NSSF-adjusted NICS figures reveal 1.8 million background checks for gun sales in December, the fourth highest December since records have been kept. And the 18.5 million total for 2021 beats every other year except 2020, when Americas purchased about 21 million firearms.
Mark Oliva, NSSF director of public affairs, believes the continued strong gun sales are a statement of freedom by many Americans, including some new gun owners.
“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,” Oliva said. “The year 2021 was the second-highest year for background checks for gun sales, behind 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.”
Oliva pointed out that this continued strong gun sales trend has occurred as the firearm industry has faced significant challenges, from political to severe supply chain issues.
“NSSF led the opposition to defeat President Joe Biden’s nomination of a gun control lobbyist, David Chipman, to regulate the firearm industry, the single most important fight of the year to preserve the firearm industry and Second Amendment rights,” Oliva said. “At the same time, manufacturers announced significant investments in the expansion and relocation, signaling the anticipation for continued growth. The 2021 totals of 18.5 million background checks for a firearm sale prove the work to preserve and grow this vital industry is essential, and the men and women of this industry are more than capable of meeting the growing demand for lawful firearm ownership.”
Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms.
As pointed out by the NSSF, it should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.