Fears that gun-control laws might become stricter certainly helped ignite a blaze of gun sales. However, the rise in sales actually began long before Barack Obama won the presidency in November 2008. Calls into the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)—which gun dealers must do before they can sell anyone a gun—actually rose every year from 2003 to 2013, and only fell slightly in 2014. In 2003 there were 8,481,588 NICS checks nationally. In 2005 the number rose to almost 9 million. In 2006 it surpassed 10 million. In 2007 it grew to just over 11 million. In 2008 it rose to 12.7 million. In 2009 the number of NICS checks passed 14 million. In 2012 the number of background checks called into the FBI topped out at 19.5 million and in 2013 the number rose to 21,093,273. In 2014 the number fell to 20,968,547.