The FBI processed a record number of firearms-related background checks last year, indicating that more guns were sold in 2015 than in any previous year in American history. More than 23 million checks were processed through the National Instant Background Check System in 2015, an all-time record.

The all-time record for yearly sales comes after May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December 2015 each set sales records for their respective months. In December the FBI conducted 3,314,594 checks, an increase of more than half a million checks over the previous single-month record set in December 2012.

The number of FBI background checks is widely considered to be the most reliable gauge of how many firearms were sold in a given month because background checks are required on all sales made through federally licensed firearms dealers. However, the checks do not provide an exhaustive representation of gun sales. Checks are not required on sales between private parties in most states, and a single background check may cover the purchase of multiple firearms by the same person at once. FULL REPORT