Licensed firearms dealers across the country ran nearly 21 million background checks last year. The numbers of processed checks can vary greatly from month to month, and can provide clues about gun purchasing trends in each state. But NICS checks don’t represent the number of guns actually changing hands.

Comparing more recent data over the first four months of this year suggests that about half of states are on pace to exceed 2014 totals. One state, Indiana, has seen a particularly steep increase in firearm checks over the past few months. Lawmakers there have introduced a slew of different bills, from one requiring firearm safety classes for residents wanting licenses to carry handguns to another repealing a ban on sawed-off shotgun possession,” writes Governing‘s Mike Maciag.

“While NICS data indicates the number of background checks have climbed over the longer term, surveys suggest firearm ownership has slowly declined. Guns are present in about a third of U.S. households, down from nearly half of households in the late 1970s and early 80s, according to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.”

This would suggest that, while firearm ownership has declined overall, many people who do own a gun have more than one weapon.

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