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 the second highest gun sales day ever. 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 United States Marine.
USA Today reported that, in total, the FBI states they fielded 202,465 requests during the 24-hour period associated with Black Friday, just under the prior record of 203,086.
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.
These numbers also do not take into account firearms which were purchased online. Those firearms will then be shipped to a license seller in the purchaser’s area and a background check will be done when they pick up the firearm, so those checks could be spread out over the following weeks.