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Black Friday Background Checks Soar, Fall Short of Record

Black Friday Background Checks Soar, Fall Short of Record

The FBI reported this week that the number of National Instant Background Checks (NICS) taking place on Black Friday 2013—traditionally the biggest day of the year for firearms sales—was the sixth-most in history at 144,758. The number was slightly lower than the 154,873 on Black Friday 2012, which coincidentally took place just weeks after the reelection of President Barack Obama. Last year's Black Friday set a one-day NICS record at the time, but is now the third highest day, according to the federal law-enforcement agency.

The remaining four days with the highest number of NICS checks all occurred in December 2012, after the Obama Administration announced its intent to enact strict gun control legislation in the wake of the horrific events in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14. While a NICS check does not precisely indicate the sale of individual firearms, it correlates closely and is considered by the industry as an accurate indicator of sales and demand. In anticipation of the high demand for background checks on Black Friday this year, the FBI in October announced its NICS Section would extend hours of service for E-check Users and state Point-of-Contact (POC) Programs, starting at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

In Virginia, Black Friday gun sales set a new record, according to Virginia State Police figures of mandatory criminal-background checks of gun buyers. November 29 gun transactions in Virginia totaled 3,902, reflecting a 1.2 percent increase over the previous record of 3,856 transactions on the same day in 2012. The Black Friday numbers helped boost Virginia's overall gun transactions to 429,154 through the end of November, or 17.5 percent more than during the same period last year, according to Virginia Firearms Transaction Center data.

And 20 shopping days remain until Christmas.

Nationally, the FBI reports there have already been 19,051,745 checks so far in 2013. The total number of checks last year was 19,592,303. By comparison, in the final 12 months George W. Bush served as President, there were 12,709,023 NICS checks, which correlates to an increase of more than 50 percent each of the past two years year under the Obama Administration.

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