January 16, 2023
Despite President Joe Biden and anti-gun politicians throughout the nation continually trying to further infringe upon the Second Amendment-protected rights of law-abiding American citizens in 2022, firearm sales at the retail level were among the highest in history. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the 2022 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) total was about 16.4 million—third only to the extremely high Covid pandemic years of 2020 and 2021.
“The total of over 16.4 million background checks completed for the sale of a firearm in 2022 demonstrated that while retail sales of firearms were lower than the record shattering years of 2020 and 2021, there continues to be a strong desire from law-abiding Americans to purchase the firearms of their choice,” Mark Oliva, NSSF managing director of public affairs, said in a released statement.
The December 2022 adjusted number of 1.75 million was a decrease of only 2.5 percent from the December 2021 figure of 1.79 million. Likewise, the adjusted fourth quarter figure of 4.53 million was a 4.9 percent decrease from fourth quarter 2021. However, the 16.4 million NICS checks in 2022 represented a substantially higher number than the 13.2 million pre-pandemic total in 2019. Comparing those two years, 2022 represented about a 20-percent increase over 2019.
“This trend is similar to that of what NSSF has witnessed in the past,” Oliva said. “When a new ceiling is reached on background checks for retail gun sales, the market settles to a ‘new normal.’ That new normal typically exceeds what the trend line of what was seen before the spike. In this case, there were nearly 13.2 million before the 2020 and 2021 spike. The 16.4 million figure shows that the industry continues to meet a signal from the today’s gun buyers.”
Of course, NICS checks do not correspond 1-to-1 with retail firearm sales. It's important to note that 24 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.
About the Author
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 over 20 years.
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