The FBI last week said it conducted 2,767,699 gun sale background checks in March under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That sets a new record for March checks, representing nearly a 10 percent increase from the previous March high of 2,523,265 checks in 2016.
“These statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale,” the FBI stated in its report. Still, the NICS numbers are used to gauge the number of firearm purchases.
The spike is speculated to be a response by pro-Second Amendment supporters as calls for increased gun control measures have once again become a rallying cry after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. In the wake of that tragedy, anti-gunners have become increasingly vocal in their calls for such restrictions as raising the age limit for buying rifles. Florida already has passed a law incorporating the age change to 21 from 18, though the NRA is challenging the law in federal court.
The number of NICS checks in March is the fourth-highest monthly total since the background check system started being used in late 1998.