A new single-day record for point-of-sale background checks was established on Black Friday, November 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 firearm sold at retail, background check activity serves as an indicator of retail gun sales.
Black Fridays, which occur the day after Thanksgiving, historically have been among the most active days for firearms purchases. As the chart shows, five of the top 10 most active single days for federal background checks were Black Fridays.
“Responsible firearms ownership is popular, mainstream and growing,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “Americans in record numbers are choosing to own firearms for target shooting, hunting, collecting and personal and home protection.”
The new one-day record was not unexpected, as NSSF pointed out in a recent blog post, given reports of increased gun sales following the election of President Barack Obama to a second term and also hunting license sales increasing.
Saturday’s total of 88,419 background checks also earned it a spot among the top ten most active single days.
NICS also reported that during this record period for background checks some firearms retailers calling into the NICS Section experienced extended wait times. However, the NICS E-Check system was up and running. NICS encourages federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to enroll with the NICS E-Check system to avoid extended wait times. FFLs can learn more about enrolling in NICS E-Check by visiting the NICS FFL Web site.