May 2013 became the 36th straight month – or three full years – in which the NSSF-adjusted NICS check figures topped the same period in the preceding year.
The May 2013 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check
System (NICS) figure of 974,457 is an increase of 15.9 percent over the
NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 840,412 in May 2012. For comparison, the
unadjusted May 2013 NICS figure of 1,424,450 reflects a 9.1 percent
increase from the unadjusted NICS figure of 1,305,392 in May 2012.
While the NICS checks are not a direct correlation with sales, they are an indicator of trends. The National Instant Criminal Background Check
System is also used by a number of states for concealed carry permit background checks for both new and active permits.
There are many anecdotal reports that a good part of current gun sales are from first time buyers. If this is indeed the case – and I’ve come to believe it is – then this is not a bubble but a shift in the demand curve.
This could also explain the scarcity of ammo. If I were to buy a new 9mm pistol, I have ammo for it that I’ve bought over the years. I don’t have to run out to Walmart, my local gun store, or go online right away to get ammo. However, if someone who has never owned a gun now buys one, he or she will need ammo for it. In the past week, I stopped into two Walmarts that were over 100 miles apart. Both had a decent selection of rifles and shotguns. Neither of them had any ammo in the more common calibers even though they have restrictions on the amount one can buy.