Total gun sales for 2020 through June 30—as estimated by the number of records processed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)—stands at 10.6 million for the year. That figure doesn’t include purchases by those who hold a valid carry permit in those regions of the country without the requirement to undergo a redundant background check. Last month alone, according to an estimate from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, firearm sales totaled 2,387,524.
The figures indicate the record for total sales in any calendar year, which was set in 2016 at roughly 15.5 million, is in jeopardy of losing its top-billing status. With a presidential election looming in November and holiday season shortly thereafter, the heaviest buying season is months away.
Last month also set a record for NICS volume with 3,931,607, roughly 1.6 million more than last year during the same month. June also claimed top honors in the system’s history, best the previous highwater mark—set in March of this year—by nearly 200,000.
Buying was steady throughout all of June, too, lacking the kind of single- or two-day spikes typical when a political announcement or outside influence spikes interest in exercising Second Amendment rights. All four weeks placed in the FBI’s top-10 list for seven-day periods with the highest volume of NICS background checks. June 1 to June 7 was tops last month, with a total of 1,004,798. The figure now ranks in second place in the category and marks only the second time to total has surpassed the one-million mark.
Firearm sales peaked in 2016, but that record-setting year was followed by a lethargic “new normal.” In 2017 gun purchases totaled 14 million—down 1.5 million—and 2018 came in lower at 13.1 million. The trend reversed with last year’s figure of 13.9 million.