What Were People Shopping for on Black Friday? Guns

Ron Swanson Big Buck

As we noted earlier this week, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales dropped 1.5 percent compared to last year. There was, however, one specific retail item that broke a new record. From the Associated Press:

The FBI processed a record number of firearms background checks on Black Friday, the agency said Tuesday.

The agency processed a record 185,345 background checks—roughly two per second—the same day that three people were killed and nine others wounded in an attack at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado.

The agency received about 5 percent fewer background check requests on Black Friday in 2014, the FBI said.

This record was last broken in 2012:

The previous record for the most background checks in a single day was Dec. 21, 2012, about a week after 20 children and six adults were shot to death in a Connecticut elementary school. The week following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary saw the processing of 953,613 gun background checks.

As Ester wrote earlier this year, our culture often uses images of guns to sell other products—but this is a sober reminder that guns don’t have any trouble selling themselves. Gawker reminds us that not every gun background check results in a gun purchase, so we can’t state that this means a record number of people bought guns. However, it does reveal what a record number of people were thinking about on Black Friday.

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