GunsGun Sales Drop After New Year, Carry Permit Checks Hold Steady

Background checks for gun sales are holding steady above the pre-pandemic levels, while carry permit applications have declined.
March 14, 2022
After a drop in gun sales at the beginning of 2022, firearm purchases and License to Carry (LTC) applications in Texas are holding steady without any drastic changes.

According to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data released by the federal government, background checks for handgun and long gun purchases saw a recent high of 89,000 and 55,000, respectively, before falling to 59,000 and 30,000 in January.

In February, those checks for handguns increased 14 percent and checks for long guns increased 5 percent.

Meanwhile, background checks for LTC applications have held steady around 23,000 for the past three consecutive months.

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At a national level, background checks for handguns and long guns likewise dropped by 30 and 42 percent in January before seeing a slight uptick in February.

However, NICS checks for permit applications nationwide saw a six percent increase in January and an eight percent decrease in February.

The lackluster changes in the number of background checks shows how the statistics have settled down after tumultuous worldwide events of the past few years and a major policy change after the 87th Legislative Session.

When state governments, including Texas, issued lockdown orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, background checks for firearms shot through the roof to an all-time high.

Other peaks in background checks for firearms correlated to the riots and protests in June 2020, the inauguration of President Joe Biden in January 2021, and the holiday season in December 2021.

A sharp increase of sales was also seen in March 2021, which followed a sharp drop in February 2021 amid the statewide freeze and widespread power outages.

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, monthly NICS checks for handguns have risen from an average of around 45,000 to around 70,000. Checks for long guns have risen from an average of around 35,000 to 40,000.

In contrast, the average number of checks for LTC applications has dropped from about 32,000 to 23,000.

The decline was most noticeable in the months following the legislative session last year, when state lawmakers approved a bill to end the requirement for an LTC for most lawful handgun owners to carry in public.


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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.

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