Black Friday Sets Record for Gun Background Checks
The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday—which came just weeks after 26 people died in a shooting at a Texas church—resulted in more than 200,000 requests for gun background checks by the FBI, setting a new record for background checks demanded in a single day.
USA Today reports that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) received 203,086 requests for background checks, a significant increase from the previous single-day record of 185,713 requests—set last year on Black Friday.
USA Today reports:
Gun checks, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales. The number of firearms sold Friday is likely higher because multiple firearms can be included in one transaction by a single buyer.
The surging numbers received by the bureau’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), comes just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a sweeping review of the system, which allowed a court-martialed Air Force veteran to purchase the rifle used earlier this month to kill 25 people inside a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church.
The numbers are surprising, given the recent decline in firearms sales. The decline may be occurring because potential buyers have ceased to fear a federal crackdown on gun sales or gun control efforts or perhaps because of the National Rifle Association’s endorsement of President Trump. However, a 2015 Time magazine report suggested that mass shootings could increase gun sales: “Spikes in gun sales regularly occur following mass shootings, often over concerns of increased gun regulation or because people are looking for increased protection,” Time reported.
According to CNN, firearms dealers were hoping that rebates and deep discounts would bring in customers on Black Friday and boost recently flagging sales. Two of the largest gun manufacturers, Remington Arms Co. and Browning Arms Co., reportedly offered cash rebates of up to $200 on shotguns and $100 on rifles this year. Cabela’s, a national retailer, offered a 14-day sale on rifles, handguns and ammunition.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the background check system after it was revealed that the Texas church gunman was able to legally purchase a gun despite having a criminal record. Reuters reports:
Sessions said the Nov. 5 shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, by Devin Kelley, a former Air Force serviceman who had a 2012 conviction for domestic assault, showed that not all the necessary information was being added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
In a statement, Sessions said he was directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “to do a comprehensive review of the NICS and report back to me the steps we can take to ensure that those who are prohibited from purchasing firearms are prevented from doing so.”
USA Today reports that another mass shooter, who killed four people in California earlier this month, should have been barred from gun ownership but was able to assemble his own rifles by purchasing parts from online sources.
“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,” Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 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. It’s time to turn off the lights on these sites so these companies won’t be able to enable illegal gun trafficking or the next mass shooting.”
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