A record number of firearms background checks were conducted by the FBI in 2015 — equating to roughly 44 every minute. The agency reported Monday that it conducted a total of 23,141,970 checks last year, eclipsing the prior yearly record of roughly 21.1 million checks set in 2013. The background checks are conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for gun purchases from federal firearms licensees and for permits to carry guns, and while the checks serve as an indicator of gun sale trends in the U.S., each check does not always equate to a sale.

The number of background checks run daily on perspective gun buyers peaked last year on Black Friday, when 185,345 checks were conducted. But background checks continued to surge following the major shopping day and throughout the end of the year. According to the FBI data, December saw 3.3 million checks conducted — making it the month the FBI processed the most background checks for potential gun owners since the agency began conducting them in 1998 as part of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. FULL REPORT