FBI gun background check system passes 400 million

For the first time since it started in 1998, the FBI’s gun background check program passed 400 million last month when another 2.7 million were conducted.

The number has been on a fast rise since the 2020 presidential election followed by growing safety concerns due to COVID-19 and city riots.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, said it has been used 400,540,500 times since the first was done in November 1998. The NICS was created by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which was authored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.

It was named after former President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary James Brady was shot, like Reagan, in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr. in 1981.

For its first few years, the system recorded gun sales and other background checks in the hundreds of thousands per month. By this year, it was hitting records, the highest coming in March at 4.7 million.

The last two years have seen historic numbers, and gun sales have largely paralleled that.

Just this week, the system recorded its second-highest tally for August in history, at 2.7 million. 

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“This indicates that there is a continued strong and steady demand from Americans choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Mark Oliva, spokesman for the industry’s trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

He said another record-breaking year of gun sales is within “striking distance,” and he credited the public’s desire to get a firearm as President Joe Biden is threatening to block them.

“The continued demand for lawful firearm ownership is notable because it comes at a time when the Biden administration is pushing to achieve their radical gun control agenda,” Oliva said. “Americans are choosing a different path. Americans acted upon their God-given right to keep and bear arms over 1.3 million times in August. That sends a clear signal that Americans are choosing their gun rights over the Biden administration’s gun control,” he added.