Gun sellers did brisk business on the biggest shopping day of the year, providing a respite from a year-long slump under the Trump administration. The FBI reported 203,000 background checks for gun sales on Friday.
The increase may be due, in part, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordering a review of the system after an Air Force veteran massacred 25 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas with a rifle he should not have been permitted to purchase if the Air Force reported his criminal convictions.
According to CNN, firearms dealers were hoping that rebates and deep discounts would lure in customers on Black Friday and boost recently slagging sales. And if the new record for single-day gun background checks set Friday is any indication, those retailers' efforts appear to have worked. 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. Kelley staged a mass shooting on November 5, killing at least 25 at a church in Sutherland Springs in Wilson County.
"People should not be able to make their own assault weapons and other guns when those individuals are risky and legally barred from buying guns", Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told USA Today.
The review will examine whether other government agencies are failing to report information to the database. For a record number of Americans, the answer seems to be to buy a firearm. The actual number of guns sold may be even higher, since shoppers buying multiple firearms only require one background check.
The FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) database system said they fielded 203,086 background checks on Black Friday, a day when United States retailers mark down prices on their products to kick off the annual holiday gift-shopping period.