The February 2011 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 963,746 is an increase of 13.6 percent over the NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 848,036 from February 2010. For comparison, the unadjusted February 2011 NICS figure of 1,463,138 is an increase of 18.2 percent over the unadjusted NICS figure of 1,237,617 from February 2010. The adjusted NICS data was derived by NSSF by subtracting out all NICS purpose code permit checks used by several states such as Kentucky, Iowa and Utah for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. While not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provides a more accurate picture of current market conditions.
|Courtesy of NSSF|
The raw data directly from the FBI can be seen here. It breaks out NICS checks by state.
Looking at the bar chart above, you can see the spike in sales in February 2009 as compared to February 2008. I think it can be reasonably assumed that this is due to the spike in gun sales nationwide beginning with the election of President Barack Obama. The heavy surge in gun sales has moderated by February 2010 as the fear over new gun control measures has started to abate. However, after the shootings in Tucson and the clamor for more gun control, NICS checks (and presumably sales) surge even higher than after the election of Obama.
Looking at the raw numbers, some states like Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas show increases of more than 10,000 checks over the January 2011 numbers. While past history tends to show more sales in February than in January (due, in part, I presume to leftover bills from Christmas), the increases this year are substantially more than in previous years.