What is the ideal thing to do the day after stuffing your face with turkey and giving thanks for all that is good in the world? For a record number of Americans, the answer seems to be to buy a firearm. The FBI received 203,086 requests for background checks on Black Friday, marking a substantial increase from the previous high of 185,713, which was set on the day after Thanksgiving last year. The record before that had also been set on Black Friday, 2015, when there were 185,345 checks.
The number of background checks shouldn’t be seen as a precise barometer for sales because one person can buy several firearms with one transaction. But it does suggest that firearms could have been the exception to what appeared to be generally sluggish Black Friday sales in brick-and-mortar stores. Online sales, however, soared 17.9 percent to $7.9 billion, according to Adobe Analytics.
The surge in gun sales comes mere days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) after the man who killed 25 people in a church in Texas was allowed to purchase a gun despite having a criminal record. The shooter, Devin Kelley, was found guilty of assaulting his first wife and stepson in 2012.