The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System received a record number of requests last Friday as shoppers flooded gun stores to take advantage of various discounts and deals.
According to USA Today, this year’s Black Friday was especially prolific for firearm dealers. Background checks on Friday totaled 203,086, up from 185,713 the previous year and 185,345 the year before that. Previous records for single-day background check requests for firearm purchases also took place on Black Fridays.
While the numbers suggest a heightened interest in guns, it should be noted that the number of background check requests do not necessarily reflect a surge in gun sales. Many of the requests may come from the same buyer purchasing multiple products.
Financial analysts say shoppers were in part motivated by special deals known to take place on the shopping holiday, but also by fears that increased gun control measures were imminent. This year’s Black Friday followed several high-profile mass shooting events which saw daunting death tolls.
Earlier in October, almost 30 were killed at a church in Sutherland, Texas after a militant atheist opened fire on unsuspecting Sunday worship service attendants. About a month earlier, over 60 were killed at a country music festival in Las Vegas by a particularly well-armed gunman taking advantage of a bump stock.
Voices for bolstered gun control include the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence — an organization named after an Arizona lawmaker who was a victim of gun violence.
“People should not be able to make their own assault weapons and other guns when those individuals are dangerous and legally barred from buying guns,” executive director Robyn Thomas told USA Today. “Companies that are more worried about making money than the safety of the public or law enforcement officials sworn to protect them shouldn’t be given a platform to sell their products.”
The spike in background checks is somewhat surprising considering the federal government is run by Republicans at every level. Gun sales typically spike under the watch of Democratic administrations, which are usually more vocal about introducing more restrictions for firearm purchases.
~ Firearm Daily