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Despite grim warnings in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, the FBI reported processing a total of 185,713 background checks on firearm purchase this year – the most number run on a single day since the system was launched almost two decades ago.

American retailers big and small saw a tremendous increase in sales, including in Iowa.

“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.”

For many Black Friday shoppers, the thought of being defenseless was the driving force in their final decision to pull the trigger on a gun purchase.

“I think for a lot of women it’s probably national,” said Black Friday gun buyer Terrie Camp. “I mean when you break down, you can’t trust anybody. You know, even if you get a tow truck driver to come, are you gonna be able to trust them or not? I just feel more safe with a gun.”

Just last month, a concealed carrier stopped a man on a stabbing spree in Cedar Falls, IA. The man, who had stabbed a fellow male tenant 24 times and the female University Avenue Studios apartment manager 8 times, told authorities he thought God was ordering him to kill demons.

“People wanna defend themselves and their family, they don’t want anything to happen to their children,” said Jeanelle Westrom, owner of Davenport Guns in Iowa.

The state of Iowa has continued to see a spike in Permit to Carry (PTC) applications since 2011 when they became a “shall issue” state, reporting a 400% spike in PTC applications in 2015.

“To try to take care of that threat, having a weapon in the house does give you some confidence that you can put up a fight and you can make it,” said customer Mark Steddom.