During the 1990s, President Clinton imposed fees and regulations that caused most Federally licensed firearm dealers to give up their licenses. The first graph here provides an indication exactly how draconian those changes were.
This drop occurred despite a large increase in the number of guns being sold (as measured by the NICS checks). Unfortunately, this next graph only reports data from 1999 on.
How big was the drop? One measure is to see that this drop occurred despite a huge increase in NICS checks per Federally licensed dealer.
First, President Clinton caused the vast majority of dealers to give up their licenses because of the fees and regulations that he imposes. It was simply too costly for these small collectors to keep their licenses, though some larger sellers were also driven out of business. Now with Obama’s new rules saying that these small individuals can’t continue to legally operate without obtaining a license (even those who may only be selling a single gun), he is likely to simply stop some of these individuals from collecting guns.