A certain politician made the claim that Californians are “fed up with the NRA“.  Perhaps that’s true. I have no visibility into membership stats for the State. But there’s one thing that we do know, thanks to an obscure and possible unreliable, wingnut website, it’s that Californians are buying more and more firearms.

CA NICS data - 3-16

It should be noted that NICS checks do not necessarily map one to one to actual gun sales. However, they come close to that in States like California that ban multi-firearm sales. In Free America, you can buy matching shotguns for your twin girls, but not here. Thus each NICS check likely represents one sale.

The data above start with December of 1998, the first complete month in the dataset, and end in February of 2016. I’ve marked a few features in the data that indicate why some of the spikes happened. For example, the regularly occurring December spikes are probably Black Friday sales showing up as NICS checks over the next 10 business days. There are some exceptional December spikes that correspond to new gun bans. And there are a few that I can’t figure out, like the spike in March of 2015.

It’s also interesting that a big, fat dip in sales happened when the Federal “assault” weapon ban was finally being allowed to sunset. Funny how people will spend money on other things when the politicians stop threatening their 2nd Amendment freedoms. It’s almost like they want us to buy more guns. And here in California, we’ve responded to their call 1.6 million times since 1998!

News Politics

Santa’s elves must have worn their little fingers down to nubs processing all of these NICS checks…


The final score is a record 3.3 million checks in December and a record 23.1 million checks for 2015. And keep in mind that these checks include multiple firearms transactions (Something they do in Free America) and does not include many private party sales (Something else they do in Free America). Obama can flog control all he likes; the American People have voted with their checkbooks and they’re not buying what he’s selling.

So if we plot the data since 1999 (’98 was only a partial year), the sales trend looks like this…

NICS checks by year

Forget gold. Go long on steel!