If you bought a new gun in October, you’re not alone—the FBI’s NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) processed 1,976,759 background checks for the month, nearly 400,000 more than last October. And as it turns out, if you bought one between May and September, you’re also in good company—this past month was the sixth in a row to set a record for number of checks.
While NICS checks aren’t a perfect measure of gun sales, they’re an accurate indicator of trends—and in recent years have revealed a lot about America’s political climate. After President Barack Obama’s election, gun sales spiked, and when he announced sweeping gun-control goals in January 2013, that year saw a record-breaking 21,093,273 checks.
The FBI has already processed 17,584,346 NICS checks in 2015, and may exceed 2013’s total by year’s end. This suggests that while Americans see Obama as a danger to freedom, the possibilities presented by a Hillary Clinton or Martin O’Malley seem an even bigger threat.