President Obama’s determination to pass gun-control laws in his second term continues to drive people to the gun dealers.
The number of National Instant Background Checks (NICS) run on Black Friday 2013 was the sixth-most in history at 144,758, according to the FBI.
Numbers this year, however, were slightly lower than the 154,873 NICS checks run on Black Friday 2012, which fell right after Mr. Obama was re-elected. Nov. 23, 2012 ranks as the third-highest day ever for NICS checks.
Traditionally, Black Friday has been the biggest day for gun sales. But that changed after the president announced after the Newtown tragedy last December that his second term priority would be gun control.
Two things happened in response. Existing gun owners began stocking up on items that might be banned, and new gun owners entered the market out of fear. About one quarter of all gun sales are to first-time owners, according to a poll of retailers by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
The other top four highest days of NICS checks in history were all were in December 2012, according to the FBI.
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While every NICS check does not mean a firearm was sold, it correlates closely and is a good indicator of demand. NSSF provides the manufacturing industry a more accurate count of sales activity by subtracting out applications or checks related to carry permits from the total NICS.
NSSF’s adjusted NICS shows that November 2013 was 14 percent lower than the same month in 2012 but 15 percent higher than November 2011.
This means that although the sales peak has crested, the demand floor is much higher than before Mr. Obama was re-elected and started pursuing his agenda on the federal and state level for “assault weapon” and “high capacity” magazine bans.
Each of the first six months of 2013 showed NICS checks higher than the corresponding month in 2012. The numbers slowed in June.
Nevertheless, checks were so much higher in 2013 than the previous year that it is on track to be the highest year in history.
There have already been 19,051,745 checks so far this year, and Christmas shopping is just getting started. Last year, there was a total of 19,592,303.
Put in perspective, the last year that President Bush was in office, there were 12,709,023. NICS checks have risen by more than 50 percent since Mr. Obama has been in the White House.
Mr. Obama has inadvertently become the best gun salesman in history.
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).