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Interesting reading for NICS checking purposes, preferences and historical trends here -- at least I thought so -- but then, I like spreadsheets and figures.

NICS Checks Reveal Americans' Changing Gun Purchasing Preferences - The Truth About Guns

My quick summary:

Most people assume that each NICS check represents a firearm transfer. In the past, the overwhelming majority did indeed represent transfers. However, today, most NICS checks are done for license checks and re-checks.

For instance, did you know that Illinois has the most NICS checks of any state so far in 2019? More than even Texas. Far more.

Does that mean Land o’ Lincoln gun owners like me have bought more guns than our brothers and sisters in the Lone Star State? Oh, heck no. Illinois has so many NICS checks because the Illinois State Police just love to check and re-check Firearm Owner Identification cardholders along with concealed carry license holders. Over and over again.

And, as you can see, Illinois does ten times as many NICS rechecks on FOID and CCW holders as it does for new gun purchases.


The sea change happened during Barack Obama’s presidency, the greatest gun salesman in the history of the world ever. More and more Americans decided they wanted some ballistic capability for personal protection purposes, so they bought handguns. And a lot of them.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) — FBI

Admittedly, CCW permits and Constitutional Carry probably skew the data somewhat.
ETA: Permanent Brady Permit Chart | Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
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