3rd Jun 2022

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Federal background check data for last month shows that the firearms industry is continuing its current boom, with May 2022 chalking up one of the highest figures on record for the month.

The unadjusted number of 2,272,187 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System for last month is the third-highest logged since the system was established over two decades ago, only bested by those seen in 2021 and 2020, years fueled by urban unrest and the uncertainty that came with a nationwide pandemic.

When the figures are adjusted — removing data for gun permit checks and rechecks by states which use NICS for that purpose — the latest total stands at 1,174,791, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the U.S. gun industry. While this number is an 11.3 percent decrease when compared to the May 2021 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,324,419, it is by far the third strongest May in the NICS system's 23-year history.

The most important takeaway from that is that last May marks 34 straight months that background checks for the sale of a firearm exceeded 1 million.

NSSF NICS data May 2022
While a decline from the past two Mays on record, last month was still one of the strongest Mays in terms of checks for over-the-counter firearm sales. For instance, it is 30 percent higher than data from five years ago and almost doubles the number of checks from 15 years ago. (Chart: NSSF)

"Background checks for firearm sales remain strong," Mark Oliva, public affairs director for the NSSF, told "Americans continue to buy firearms for personal safety. These gun owners refuse to are law-abiding Americans who use their firearms for lawful purposes daily. They reject the attempts by special interest groups to paint them with the same broad brush those who criminally misuse firearms."

Banner image: Ruger Mini-14 in the Vault.