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Number of background checks performed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in the United States from 1998 to 2017

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NICS background checks performed in the U.S. 1998-2017 This statistic shows the total number of background checks performed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in the United States from 1998 to 2017. The NICS background checks are used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives. In 2017, a total of 25.24 million background checks have been registered by the FBI.
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Description Source More information
This statistic shows the total number of background checks performed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in the United States from 1998 to 2017. The NICS background checks are used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives. In 2017, a total of 25.24 million background checks have been registered by the FBI.
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Release date
April 2018
Region
United States
Survey time period
1998 to 2017
Supplementary notes
NICS is used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives. Before ringing up the sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to make a purchase.
This number does not represent the number of firearms sold in the U.S. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.

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