December 8, 2023

The National Instant background Check System (NICS), run by the FBI, shows April of 2023 was the third highest number of gun sales for April on record, a slight increase from April of 2022.

The estimate for April 2023 is 1.34 million gun sales. The estimate for April 2022 was 1.32 million gun sales. The number of background checks done in April of 2023 is also in third place, at about 2.86 million background checks done on the NICS system in April of 2023, compared to about 2.73 million done in April of 2022. Gun sales have consistently been over a million a month since August of 2019.

In the last 45 months, ending on April 30, 2023, there have been about 67.5 million firearms sold through the National Instant background Check System (NICS).

Gun sales have been consistently over a million firearms a month for the entire period. Approximately one-eighth of gun sales recorded by NICS appear to be a re-sale of a firearm already in the private stock of firearms in the United States of America. After adjusting for this, the number of private firearms in the USA is very close to 495 million at the end of April, 2023.

This correspondent predicts the private stock of firearms in the USA will be over 500 million before the end of 2023.

After 2016, the USA appears to have reset gun sales to a new normal. According to estimates from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the State of California, new gun owners more than make up for the loss of members of the gun culture due to death. From William English’s 2021 survey of gun ownership in the USA, there are approximately 81.4 million adults who are willing to admit to gun ownership in an online survey. When the number of gun owners who will not participate in online surveys or who will not admit to gun ownership is included, the number of adult gun owners is likely over 100 million. Almost all legal gun owners are legal voters (there are a few permanent resident aliens who can legally own guns but who may not legally vote).


New gun ownership is driven primarily as a means of defense of self and community. As international and domestic tensions have risen and continue to be manifested in both the legacy media, the tech oligarch media, and alternative media, which delivers more conservative news, the number of people who see utility in the ownership of firearms grows.

Gun ownership for defensive purposes is not a casual decision.  As the number of gun owners grows, so grows the political awareness of Second Amendment rights. More proponents of Second Amendment rights mean more legislation in state capitols lending teeth to the exercise of those rights. 27 states now have a form of permitless carry, where no permit is required to legally bear arms in most public places. Gun ownership is a positive feedback loop.

People who own guns tend to find that guns are much like other tools. One hammer may be useful in many places, but specialized hammers do better for specialized tasks. People who purchase one gun often decide they need more than one gun. A tack hammer is better at driving tacks. A sledgehammer is better at driving posts. A rock hammer is better at breaking rocks. A gun optimized for defense of the home may not be optimum for all-day carry. A gun best for militia use may not be best for the control of garden pests. The USA may have reached a typing point where politically active gun owners are strong enough to restore rights protected by the Second Amendment, which have been significantly infringed for decades.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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