The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) completed 711,372 background checks for the purchase of a firearm at retail during the week leading up to and including Black Friday, according to figures released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
FBI’s NICS recorded 192,749 background checks on Black Friday alone, which ranks it number three in the list of NICS checks conducted the day after Thanksgiving. That figure represents a 2.8 percent increase from Black Friday 2021, when 187,585 background checks were completed. Total volume of NICS checks performed by the FBI is considered a relative measure of firearm sales, but other administrative use of the system includes processing of carry permits and renewals.
After adjusting for the non-firearm-purchase use of the NICS system, Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting estimates November’s firearm sales nationwide totaled approximately 1.6 million units. The figure is 1.7 percent lower than November 2021, despite the huge spike during what is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year last month.
“Background checks for firearm purchases were already trending to make 2022 the third strongest year on record, coming off of the outsized years of 2020 and 2021,” explained Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. “These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”
Annual background check data indicates firearm sales will typically rise during the final month of the year coinciding with hunting seasons and holiday sales. Sales on Black Friday were brisk, as was that entire week. The day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Nov. 24, for example, saw the FBI process 116,033 NICS background checks. On Tuesday, Nov. 23, the figure came in at 109,895.