An astonishing number of background checks on gun sales were conducted in 2015. In fact, the total number equals roughly 44 checks every minute, according to FBI data.

In its annual report released Monday, the FBI revealed that it conducted a record 23,141,970 background checks last year. The previous record number of background checks was approximately 21.1 million in 2013.

People who purchase guns from federal firearms licensees and apply for carry permits are subject to background checks that are conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. However, while those checks reveal gun sale trends in the U.S., not every check equals a sale.

Colt 9Mm Commander and .38 - Super Combat Commander handguns (Getty Images/Education Images/UIG)

Colt 9Mm Commander and .38 – Super Combat Commander handguns (Getty Images/Education Images/UIG)

Gun background checks started to surge on Black Friday last year, totaling 185,345 on the shopping day, and continued in high numbers throughout December. According to FBI data, 3.3 million background checks were processed in December, marking the highest monthly number of checks for potential owners performed by the FBI since it began conducting them in 1998 as part of the Brandy Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

The previous record of nearly 2.8 million background checks conducted was December 2012, the month of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead.

This data comes as President Barack Obama is preparing to outline executive action his administration plans to take regarding background checks.

To date, the FBI has conducted more than 225 million background checks on potential gun owners. Of the checks conducted, the FBI has denied nearly 1.3 million applicants, most of whom were turned down due to a criminal record.

(H/T: Washington Times)