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October Gun Sales See Massive Spike, Set Yet Another Record

With 2 months to go, 2016 already second highest year on record for gun sales

BY: Stephen Gutowski

November 1, 2016 3:10 pm

The FBI's background check system for gun sales processed more than 2.3 million checks in October, setting an all-time record for the month.

There were 2,333,539 gun-related checks processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as NICS, last month, according to FBI documents posted on Monday. That represents an increase of more than 350,000 checks over the previous October, itself a record. It's also the 18th month in a row to set a record.

With two months to go, 2016 has already seen 22,206,233 NICS checks, making it the second highest year for checks in the history of NICS with only 2015 seeing more.

NICS checks are considered to be one of the most accurate indicators for gun sales because nearly all sales made through federally licensed firearm dealers require a check by law. The number of NICS checks in a month do not represent an exact count of gun sales for a number of reasons. For instance, many states require a NICS checks for those applying for gun carry permits, and many states do not require NICS checks for sales between private parties.

"These statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS," the FBI said. "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."

Many gun rights activists believe that Hillary Clinton and President Obama's positions on gun control are driving sales.

Internal emails released by Wikileaks in recent weeks show that Clinton's own campaign think she "has been more forceful on guns/gun lobby than any other person who ever seriously ran for president" which has even caused some Democrats to "freak out."

During the final Presidential debate, Clinton gave an unusual defense of her comments calling the Supreme Court "wrong on the Second Amendment" during a private fundraiser last October.

Clinton's aggressive positions on gun control come at a time when public opinion polling has turned against new gun control measures and nearly 110 million Americans report having a gun in their home.

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation said he believes gun sales will continue to surge.

"If Hillary Clinton wins on Election Day these numbers will spike in November," he said. "Everyone will want to buy more firearms before she gets in the White House."

Update 3:29 P.M.: This post has been updated with a new comment from Alan Gottlieb.