The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reported the latest National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) checks on gun sales during Black Friday was one of the “Top 10” busiest days in history.
NSSF said NICS processed 711,372 background checks during the days leading up to and including Black Friday. FBI’s NICS recorded 192,749 background checks on Black Friday alone, a 2.8% increase from Black Friday 2021, when 187,585 background checks were completed.
Below are the number of NICS checks leading up to Black Friday.
Saturday, Nov. 20, 2022: 102,376
Sunday, Nov. 21, 2022: 57,665
Monday, Nov. 22, 2022: 103,543
Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2022: 109,895
Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2022: 116,033
Thursday, Nov. 25, 2022: 29,111
Friday, Nov. 26, 2022: 192,749
Third-highest Black Friday NICS checks on record since the system was established in 1998.
When a person tries to buy a firearm at a gun shop, known as a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), they’re required to fill out an ATF form, and the FFL forwards that information to the NICS electronically. NICS staff performs a background check on the buyer to ensure he/she does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to purchase or own a firearm.
Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO, commented on the large influx of law-abiding Americans buying guns last week and said:
“Background checks for firearm purchases were already trending to make 2022 the third strongest year on record, coming off of the outsized years of 2020 and 2021.
“These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”
What’s important to note is that NICS checks are a proxy for the number of guns sold and are not exact because the background checks are performed on the buyer rather than the gun.
Elevated NICS checks imply a strong firearm appetite among law-abiding Americans. There was no explanation given why this trend remained red hot since the early pandemic days.
What might have supercharged gun buying among law-abiding Americans is this summer’s US Supreme Court’s NYSRPA v. Bruen ruling affirmed the right-to-carry applies outside the home, which forces states to stop arbitrarily denying carry permits to applicants who didn’t meet specific requirements. Perhaps another reason is that under the Biden administration, violent crime has soared in some parts of the country — law-abiding Americans might want protection.