Firearms-related background checks remained near all-time highs in June despite falling below 2016’s record pace, FBI documents released on Thursday show.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) had 1,901,768 requests ran through it during June. That’s about 230,000 fewer than in June 2016 but higher than any other June since the NICS program began in 1998. It continues 2017’s trend of background check numbers being either the highest or second highest on record.
The previous month, May, set an all-time record with 1,942,677 NICS checks. June’s numbers were also down from May as the gun industry enters the summer slow season where sales are traditionally lower than in other months.
The number of NICS checks in a month are a good barometer of how many gun sales have taken place in that month because NICS checks are required on nearly all sales made through licensed gun dealers. The number of NICS checks are not a one-to-one representation of gun sales for a variety of reasons, however. Most states do not require a NICS check for sales between private citizens on the secondary market, some states accept gun carry permits in place of a NICS check for gun purchases, and more than one gun can be sold under a single NICS check.