August 2017 saw more gun-related background checks than any other August on record, documents released Wednesday show.
There were 1,925,146 background checks run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in August, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation documents. That's an increase of more than 70,000 compared with the previous record set last year. August marks the second time in 2017 that a month has set a new record for gun-related background checks. May was the previous record-setting month.
The rest of 2017 has seen background check levels hover near but below record levels set throughout 2016. This year is on track to be the second-best year in the history of the NICS system. 2017 has already seen more gun-related background checks than all of 2010.
Though NICS checks have remained at or near historic highs in 2017, major gun manufacturers have still struggled to maintain sales levels they saw in 2016. Smith and Wesson's corporate parent recently reported a nearly 50 percent drop in firearms revenue compared with the same period last year.
The record-breaking NICS figures follow on the heels of a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicating more Americans have a gun in their home in 2017 than at any other time since the poll began asking the question.
NICS checks are considered the most reliable measure of gun sales in the United States for a number of reasons. A NICS check is required on nearly every sale made by a federally licensed gun dealer. Some states also require a NICS check on sales between private individuals.