Black Friday gun sales hit an all time record high this year with demand for new firearms so overwhelming that it caused outages at the FBI background check center on two separate occasions.
Fueled by fears that the Obama administration will go after gun rights during their second term, the FBI reported 154,873 background check requests on Friday – a 20 per cent increase on last year’s record total of 129,166 checks. The number of guns sold could actually be double or more that figure because only one background check is recorded per sale even if buyers purchase multiple firearms.
Gun stores noted that first time gun owners and women represented a significant number of those purchasing firearms on Black Friday.
Gun sales were so brisk that the FBI’s Instant Background Check center was overwhelmed with the volume of requests and crashed on two separate occasions. Some even saw the outages as an insidious way of providing “anti-gunners a clue about how to suspend the Second Amendment.”
“The NICS never actually went down,” said FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer. “The call centers experienced two short outages – one of 14 minutes and one of 18 minutes. These outages were caused by exceptionally large call volume.”
NICS has access to information from computers at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, searching records that would prohibit a buyer from owning a gun, such as being a fugitive, having a felony conviction or charge, renouncing U.S. citizenship, or having been determined as mentally impaired. NICS was mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and set up in November 1998.
According to FBI officials, when West Coast gun dealers opened for business on Black Friday, the system was briefly impacted and FBI officials decided to take call centers offline so that systems could catch up with calls already in the queue. Over the three days from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25, there were a total of 283,423 NICS checks, compared with 215,192 last year.