Year-end gun sales, checks surge to record levels

New federal data shows 2015 was a record-smashing year for the American firearms industry, with gun sales appearing to hit the highest level on record. Background checks for gun purchases and permits jumped 10 percent last year to 23.1 million, the largest number since the federal background check system began operating in 1998.

Black Friday 2015 was the single biggest gun-purchasing day ever, with more than 185,000 checks processed, according to background check figures from the FBI. December saw the highest number of background checks processed in any month. The last five weeks of the year all ranked among the 10 biggest weeks ever for firearm background checks.

The year-end surge happened partly in response to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., followed by President Obama’s calls for more restrictions on gun sales. On Monday, Obama unveiled a package of executive actions that seek to curb gun violence, including conducting more background checks.