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Fear & Loading: March NICS Checks Outpaced Only by the Holidays

Fear & Loading: March NICS Checks Outpaced Only by the Holidays

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The number of NICS background checks conducted by the FBI in March was the highest figure ever recorded for the 31-day period since the system began nearly 20 years ago. A total of 2,767,699 were processed, eclipsing the previous month’s highwater mark of 2,523,265, which took place in 2016. Although each NICS check doesn’t necessarily reflect a gun purchase, it’s widely regarded as the industry’s best relative sales barometer.

March also claimed fourth-place honors in all-time monthly records for the system, trailing only the heavy holiday buying months of December 2015 (3,314,594), December 2012 (2,783,765) and December 2016 (2,771,159). Record-setting 2016’s high number processed in a single year (27,538,673) seems safe, although this year’s pace is already 400,000 ahead of second place in the standings—2017.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s recently released “Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report: 2018” [PDF] puts the figures into financial perspective. The trade organization estimates that last year the, “ … industry was responsible for as much as $51.41 billion in total economic activity in the country.” That figure reflects a 169 percent increase in the last decade.

The study also provides details on the jobs created and families supported. More than 149,000 people are directly employed in the manufacturing, distribution and sales of firearms and ammunition. Another 161,795 jobs are generated to support and provide ancillary services. Summed, the numbers represent an 87 percent increase in the last 10 years.

Top states for people directly employed by the firearm and ammunition industry were: Texas, California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. New Hampshire claims top honors in the jobs/per capita category, followed by Idaho and Montana.

Companies involved in the firearm and ammunition business paid a total of $6.7 billion in taxes during 2017 and $2.9 billion that went to their respective state’s revenue departments, underwriting many efforts that positively impact area residents—whether or not they count themselves among the growing number of Second Amendment supporters.

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