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NICS Checks hit 2.8M in December…or was it 5M?

ZeroHedge is commenting on a report from Reuters that NICS checks (FBI background-check database for new gun buyers via retailers) hit 2.8 million in December, alone. I note that this does not include gun-loving Colorado, which does their own -- performing around 1,500 per day.

So let's call it 2.9 million background checks at retailers for December 2012. Under federal law, each background check is good for up to two guns under the Brady Law (more or less -- it's not straightforward). Let's call it 1.5 guns per background check, bringing us up to 4.4 million guns.

And then let's pile on some more: CNN estimated last August that 40 percent of guns owned in America were acquired through private sale. Private-party sales have no means to use the NICS nor any other background-check system (except for "gun permit" states like Illinois and New York -- it's complicated).

Making an educated guess about private sales considers that:

  1. Getting used things for Christmas is less likely than getting a new gun;
  2. Getting a used gun is more likely this year because new guns are, er, sold out; and
  3. Used guns that cross State lines must use the NICS system for delivery, so scratch those.

Bearing these caveats in mind, let's add about 600,000 privately-sold guns for Americans in December.

That would be more than 5 million guns drizzled over 40 million households. (I've repeatedly seen statements that 35-40% of the roughly 112 million American households have guns. I suspect that is seriously understated.)

Read this again and think slowly about it: at least 5 million guns were acquired by Americans in December 2012, alone.

As Capt. Nick has taken to saying lately, "What war are these people preparing for?"

What war, indeed.

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