According to the FBI, over 200,000 background check requests associated with the purchase of a firearm were submitted to the agency on Black Friday, marking a new single-day record. The previous record was set on the day after Thanksgiving in 2016. In both 2017 and 2016, enough guns were potentially purchased on Black Friday to arm every active duty Marine.
USA Today reported that, in total, the FBI states they fielded 203,086 requests during the 24-hour period associated with Black Friday, decimating the previous 2016 record of 185,713.
The background checks are required for firearms purchases from federally licensed dealers, so the number does not necessarily reflect the actual number of sales that took place.
In some cases, a single background check could be associated with more than one gun purchase if a shopper decided to buy more than one during a single trip. Additionally, not all who apply are ultimately approved, so some applications would not result in a purchase.
In 20 states, individuals with a concealed carry permit are exempt from the background check requirement, based on guidelines set by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), so they could make a purchase without having to send additional information to the FBI, leaving those sales potentially uncaptured by the FBI’s background check application data.
However, if the numbers even somewhat accurately capture the number of firearms sold, Americans purchased enough guns to arm every member of the approximately 182,000 active duty US Marines.
Much of the activity can likely be associated with the numerous sales and rebates gun manufacturers and sellers offered on Black Friday.
As reported by CNN Money, Browning and Remington offered cash rebates of up to $100 for rifles and $200 for shotguns, both of which are popular buys based on fall hunting seasons. Retailers like Cabela’s also offered deals designed to entice shoppers into making a purchase.
However, many stores report that gun sales over the year have slumped, which is at least partially attributed to President Donald Trump taking office, as Republicans tend to favor gun rights when crafting legislation, lessening concern among consumers that they will have trouble purchasing firearms in the future.