(WASHINGTON) -- Americans were big spenders on Black Friday -- especially when it came to guns.
Numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show an all-time one-day high for background check requests from gun buyers last Friday. There were 129,166 requests to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) -- a third more than the previous record of 97,848 on Black Friday 2008, FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer said. On Black Friday last year, there were 87,061 requests.
Gun buyers may be on a shopping spree partly because of the economy and its impact on the criminal justice system, suggested Andrew Arulananbam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association. “They read in the headlines stories about prisoners having furloughs and law-enforcement being laid off,” he said. “They realize it’s going to be up to them to protect themselves and their families.”
But Caroline Brewer, a spokeswoman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the Black Friday sales surge “might say something about marketing” but didn’t reflect actual patterns in U.S. gun ownership.
“The trend that has been observed for decades now is that fewer and fewer Americans own guns, but those who do own continue to add to their stock,” Brewer said.
She cited the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, which found that household gun ownership hit its peak in 1977, when 54 percent of American households reported having any guns. By 2010, this number had dropped to 32 percent; not coincidentally, gun laws in many states across the country became increasingly restrictive in the years since hitting that high water mark.
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