NSSF-Adjusted NICS Background Checks for December, Q4 and Annual 2023

The December 2023 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,775,834 is an increase of 1.6 percent compared to the December 2022 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,747,506. For comparison, the unadjusted December 2023 FBI NICS figure 2,730,855 reflects a 10.1 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 3,036,531 in December 2022. December 2023 marks the 53rd month in a row that has exceeded 1 million adjusted background checks in a single month.

The fourth quarter 2023 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 4,742,029 reflects an increase of 4.6 percent compared to the 4,532,341 figure for fourth quarter 2022.

The annual 2023 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 15,848,055 reflects a decrease of 3.5 percent compared to the 16,425,484 figure for annual 2022. Year 2023 was the 4th highest year on record, exceeded by years 2020 through 2022.

Please note: Twenty-four states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers.

The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF started subtracting permit rechecks in February 2016.

Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms.

It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.

For additional information on NICS or to view a complete set of the current monthly reports, please visit the NICS website.

Questions concerning NSSF-adjusted NICS data should be directed to NSSF at 203-426-1320 or Additional research is available at NSSF members are able to access historical monthly NICS data by logging in and clicking on "Industry Research" then "NICS data.”