(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Max Slowik)
The FBI processed a record-setting number of background checks on Black Friday, November 27, 2015. They ran 185,345 background checks, almost 8,000 more check over last year’s Black Friday.
“This was an approximate 5% increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014,” explained Stephen Fischer, the FBI’s chief of multimedia productions to USA Today. “The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on December 21, 2012.”
Gun sales predictably spike on Black Friday and this is the third year in a row where Black Friday sales placed in the FBI’s top 10 highest-selling days. In 2012, 154,873 guns sold on Black Friday followed by 144,758 in 2013.
The number of background checks performed is only an indicator of how many guns were sold on Black Friday. A single background check is performed for multiple gun sales and it’s likely that the true number of gun sold this Black Friday was higher.
On top of that the number doesn’t include online and over-the-phone gun sales, which require time to handle and ship. These sales, along with the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday sales, will be counted at later dates.
Low prices and local deals aren’t the only forces driving these gun sales. Mass shootings, the possibility of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and calls for increased gun control are all factors that put people into a gun-buying mood.
Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck calls it an “Obama effect,” he explained to the Washington Post, and that the demand for new gun control laws “motivates gun owners to get more guns, and perhaps some non-owners to get one ‘while the getting is good.'”
On Saturday President Obama made a plea for new gun control legislation following the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting that also took place last Friday afternoon, killing three and wounding nine others.
“We have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them,” said the President.
Increased gun sales are more than just a Black Friday anomaly. While it may be spurred by talks of more gun control, the demand for firearms has been steadily increasing for a decade straight. According to the ATF, in just the period between 2008 and 2013 the number of guns manufactured annually jumped from less than 5 million a year to 10.9 million per year. By some estimates, there are as many as 357 million guns held in private hands, more guns than there are people in the United States.
Along with strong gun sales gun stocks are booming, too, with companies like Ruger and Smith & Wesson going up by 70 and 80 percent, respectively, reports KSL.
With December holidays right around the corner, we’ll know in the next few weeks if Black Friday will set the high water mark for background checks this year. There’s a chance that it won’t be the last in the top ten this 2015.