Ho, ho, ho. Now I have a (non) machine gun.
All Die Hard references aside, it turns out that last Friday was a great day for sales. Not so much in the regular commercial markets, where national sales were down more than $1B from last year, and certainly not in Chicago where Black Lives Matter protests managed to drive down revenue by as much 50% on the Magnificent Mile. Those retailers weren’t feeling the Christmas spirit very much, but if you happen to operate a gun store it was high times indeed. USA Today reports that gun sales set an all time record for the day as measured by the number of people submitting backgrounds checks for final sales of firearms.
More Americans had their backgrounds checked purchasing guns on Black Friday than any day in the on record, according to data released by the FBI this week.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, one of the largest retail sales days in the country.
“This was an approximate 5% increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014,” wrote Stephen Fischer, the FBI’s chief of multimedia productions. “The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on 12/21/2012.”
This isn’t unusual in terms of a particular day of the year. The FBI also reports that Black Fridays in several previous years hold some of the other top ten sales days based on background checks. And why not? Christmas is a great time to give yourself a gift, and what better than a new gun? Of course, that’s what makes this all the more remarkable when you stop to think about it. Other stores sell products which people are generally buying as a gift to give somebody else. They may have five, ten or even more people on their secret Santa list and they’re going to purchase multiple items. The folks going to the Black Friday gun sales are buying the “gifts” for their own use unless they are either completely ignorant of the law or are gray market, straw purchasing criminals.
Guns aren’t cheap, either. (At least not the good ones.) You can pick up a paperback or a food processor for your sister-in-law and lay out anywhere from ten to fifty bucks. Even a modest weapon of any quality is going to set you back a couple hundred dollars at a minimum, with some being considerably more. This represents a ton of revenue for the gun stores and plenty of additional armed citizens who are probably concerned with the safety of their families in these troubled times.
But as Fortune Magazine reminds us, the previous record wasn’t set on a Black Friday. It was December 21, 2012, shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting. When the government starts upping the rhetoric on restricting gun rights, Americans head out to the stores and arm up in droves. One might think that the Democrats would make a connection between these data points and rethink their strategy a bit. Fortunately for conservatives, they never seem to learn.