For the third year in a row, Americans shrugged off their post-Thanksgiving food comas and spent their Black Friday sending gun sales through the roof.
According to data from FBI, a record 203,086 gun background checks were submitted to the bureau on Black Friday. It’s a marked increase from the last two years, in which daily background check requests peaked at 185,713, and 185,345, respectively—both on Black Friday, as well.
However, experts caution, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System may ultimately underestimate the actual number of guns sold, since multiple weapons can be purchased following a single background check request. Still, as exact sale numbers aren’t made publicly available, the background checks are considered the best indicator for the gun market.
Based on the FBI’s data, it’s impossible to pin down just what is fueling the Black Friday spike. One thing, however, is clear: gun sales have actually slowed since the election of President Donald Trump following a record 2016 for manufacturers. While the industry is still (clearly) doing quite well, Trump has possibly staunched some of the purchasing enthusiasm among buyers who believe Democratic administrations would make it more difficult to buy and own guns.
More than 230 million NICS background check requests have been made to the FBI since the program launched in late 1998. Of those requests, the FBI notes, more than 1.3 million people have been denied.