Black Friday Gun Sales Set Record

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posted on December 6, 2012
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A new single-day record for point-of-sale background checks was established on Black Friday, Nov. 23, when 154,873 were conducted by the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

That total was nearly 20 percent more than the previous high of 129,166 set on Black Friday last year.

Since a federal background check is mandatory for every firearms transaction at retail, check activity serves as an accurate indicator of retail gun sales. Black Fridays, which occur the day after Thanksgiving, historically have been among the most active days for firearms purchases. Five of the top-10 most-active single days for federal background checks were Black Fridays.

The new one-day record was not unexpected, given reports of increased gun sales following the reelection of President Barack Obama and an uptick in the sales of hunting licenses.

The 88,419 background checks on Saturday, Nov. 24, were also enough for a spot among the top-10 days.

The FBI reported the unusually high volume resulted in extended wait times for retailers in some regions of the country.

Some state numbers:

  • The Colorado Bureau of Investigations set a state record on Black Friday by processing more than 4,000 background checks—nearly 1,000 more than were processed on Black Friday in 2011, when the agency set a single-day record of checking 3,031 gun buyers.
  • Michelle Gregory, spokeswoman for the California Department of Justice, reported that Black Friday gun checks in The Golden State were up 59 percent from the same day a year ago.
  • Utah Department of Public Safety spokesman Dwayne Baird said the state's Bureau of Criminal Identification processed 40 percent more background checks on Black Friday 2012 than on the previous high date, which was the day after Thanksgiving in 2008, just weeks following the first election of President Obama. There were 2,337 background checks submitted to NICS from Utah on Nov. 23, the bureau reported, compared to 1,756 checks submitted on Black Friday 2008.

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