Media be damned, last Friday’s gun sales exceeded all expectations – retailers included.
Despite grim warnings in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, the FBI is reporting their National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) processed 185,713 total background checks on firearm purchase this year. That’s more background checks run on a single day since the system was launched almost two decades ago.
NICS numbers are the closest indication of gun sales since they determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms. Before ringing up a sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or is otherwise ineligible to complete their purchase. More than 230 million such checks have been made since the FBI launched the program in 1998.
From major retailers to local stores, the firearms industry as a whole is reporting record-breaking numbers from Black Friday.
“Black Friday sales on guns, gun accessories and ammunition were the strongest we’ve seen in our 77-year history,” said Ryan Repp, Brownells’ Communications Manager. “Sales started off first thing Thanksgiving morning, actually, and continued at a record pace through Cyber Monday.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement ran 10,122 background checks on November 25th alone, including requests from Shooters Gun Store in Jacksonville, FL, who opened it’s doors on Black Friday to a line of shoppers that wrapped around the building.
Ryan Reyes, manager of LI Outdoorsman in Rockville Centre on Long Island, New York said instead of the usual two or three sales, he sold 15 guns by mid-day on Black Friday.
“It’s just crazy in here with all the discounts,” he said. “We’ve been getting calls all week about the discounts, and it was a slow week.”
Commuters in California knew Black Friday sales were right around the corner after the Ammo Depot, a gun store in Rancho Cordova, CA, put up a billboard featuring an armed Santa Claus. Co-owner Brandon Lungren said although some people found the ad offensive, he and his coworkers, customers and family have a different perspective.
“There’s a lot of people out there that see a picture of a firearm or an AR-15 or anything along those lines, they inherently think it’s evil and it’s a shame that that happens,” Lungren said. “When we see a firearm, my kids automatically think of, ‘Hey, we go do that as a family. We have a lot of fun. We go shooting together.’ And it’s a pastime and a hobby for my family. My kids also see it as a tool to be able to protect our family if the need ever arises.”
But leave it to the media to continue to pervert positive economic news when it comes from the firearms industry:
There are reports that unconventional buyers have buoyed gun sales after Trump’s victory. NBC News found some gun store owners saw a surge in African American customers after the election, fearing for their own protection out of a belief that Trump’s victory will embolden racists to attack minorities.
Shop on, dear shooters: ’tis the season!