Black Friday may have been the best Black Friday ever for gun sales, according to numbers released by the FBI.
As we all know, the FBI doesn’t really track gun sales, but the number of background checks that occur on a given day via its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
While NICS is an imperfect way to track gun sales, as not every background check conducted results in the purchase of a firearm, for example, background checks are processed during the issuance of a concealed carry permit not to mention the fact that not every firearm transfer requires a background check (sales between private buyers, sellers), it is nonetheless a pretty reliable way to gauge commerce within the gun industry.
By the numbers there were a record-setting 175,000 background checks, which translates to about three background checks per second.
That eye-popping figure is the second highest on record, falling behind the 177,000-plus background checks that were recorded on Dec. 21, 2012, the Friday following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Traditionally, Black Friday is one of our busiest days for transaction volume,” FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer told CNN. Fischer talked about how the agency has a dedicated staff of 600 workers to take on the load, many of whom work 17-hour days to complete the checks in the three day window required by law.
“We are averaging three checks per second,” Fischer said Friday afternoon. “The challenge is to have staff keep up with this volume. We do that by limiting personal leave, asking employees to work extra shifts and reutilizing former … employees to serve in NICS during this busy period.”
In 2013, the FBI processed more than 21 million background checks. Of those, about 1.1 percent were denied, meaning the prospective purchaser had an issue that prevented him/her from possessing the firearm.
One is not allowed to purchase a firearm if one is a prohibited person, i.e. one has a felony conviction, arrest warrant, documented drug problem, mental illness, undocumented immigration status, dishonorable military discharge, renunciation of U.S. citizenship, restraining order, history of domestic violence or indictment for any crime punishable by longer than one year of prison.
Overall, it appears that 2014 is shaping up to be a good year for the gun industry. Perhaps not as good as 2013, when fears over new federal gun-control legislation sent shoppers into a frenzy, but still better than years past. Currently, supply of product is still relatively high making it a buyer’s market so shoppers shouldn’t have a problem scoring good deals on guns this holiday season.