Background checks on the sale of firearms reached a record number from the same time period last year.

Once again, record levels were reached during the month of May, showing that gun sales are no longer at a spike but are now sustaining at a level never before experienced in the USA.

Data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) show a 16% increase in May firearm purchaser background checks. A total of 1,023,102 checks were reported for the month, up from 886,183 in May 2008.

Federal law requires FBI background checks on individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed retailers. The NICS increase coincides with an increase in federal excise taxes reported by firearms and ammunition manufacturers, another key economic indicator for the firearms industry. Trends such as excise taxes and NICS data are strong indicators of sales patterns; however, they are not actual sales.

There is no data source that captures firearms sales by month.