- Reuters/Adrees Latif
- On Black Friday, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) received a record number of requests from hopeful gun owners.
- The two previous single-day records were also set on Black Fridays.
- Shoppers were taking advantage of discounts, but may have also been motivated by a Justice Department memo last week that directed the FBI to review its background-checks system.
- Gun sales have slowed down this year after unusually strong demand around the presidential election a year ago.
Guns were also a top item for bargain hunters on Black Friday.
Hopeful gun owners sent in a record number of single-day requests to the FBI’s background-check system on Friday. They topped the two previous milestones that were also set on the discount-driven shopping holiday after Thanksgiving in previous years, according to USA Today.
Prospective gun owners filed 203,086 requests to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Because the FBI may turn down some buyers, these requests aren’t a perfect representation of gun sales, but they are suggestive of demand.
Prospective gun owners got more reason to move faster with purchases just as gunmakers ramped up their discounts.
Last Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review the NICS so that guns do not fall into the wrong hands.
Sessions cited the November 5 shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, as proof that “relevant information may not be getting reported to the NICS.” Devin P. Kelly, the gunman who killed 26 people, was charged with assault in 2012 according to Air Force records, and this information was never submitted to the NICS database.
Gun demand rose as President Barack Obama called for tougher regulations after major shootings and then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton led in many election polls. Some prospective owners feared that tighter rules under a potential President Clinton would make buying harder.
Donald Trump’s pro-gun presidency has contributed to a slowdown in sales this year. American Outdoor Brands reported a nearly 40% decline – about $78 million – in net sales in its fiscal quarter ending July 31.