Number of Background Checks Set New Record on Black Friday

The FBI was flooded Friday with more than 200,000 background check requests for gun purchases, setting a new single day record, the bureau reported Saturday.

Black Friday, the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, had previously set records for the most instant Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks in 2015 and 2016.

Gun checks, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales.

During the last few years of Barack Obama's presidency, the nation saw a spike in gun sales as second amendment proponents feared the passage of more restrictive legislation.


The two previous single-day records were also set on Black Fridays. However, a 2015 Time magazine report suggested that mass shootings could increase gun sales: "Spikes in gun sales regularly occur following mass shootings, often over concerns of increased gun regulation or because people are looking for increased protection", Time reported. Cabela's, a national retailer, offered a 14-day sale on rifle, handgun and ammunition deals.

The review was ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions following revelations that a gun rampage at a Texas church which left 26 people dead was committed by a former USA airman who had been legally stripped of his right to own weapons.

He directly pointed to the Sutherland Springs church shooting - and the Air Force's failure to report the suspected gunman's prior court-martial - as cause for concern. Yet it has largely struggled to keep pace with the volume of firearm transactions and still properly maintain the databases of criminal and mental health records necessary to determine whether buyers are eligible to purchase guns.

The database is meant to prevent criminals and other Americans barred from owning guns from purchasing them.

  • Tracy Klein