Monday, December 5, 2011

Guns were the hot item on Black Friday

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 4:15 PM

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USA Today reports nearly 130,000 Americans purchased firearms on Black Friday, a new record. The paper tracked the sales through an unprecedented amount of background checks that flooded the FBI. In all, the Black Friday sales surpassed the previous all-time high by 32%, according to bureau records. The FBI performed 129,166 background checks this year compared to 97,848 in 2008. The story adds:

The actual number of firearms sold last Friday is likely higher because multiple firearms can be included in a transaction by a single buyer. And the FBI does not track actual gun sales.

So, what gives? Why so many gun purchases this year?

A spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation told USA Today it may have something to do with a surge in first-time buyers, including many women. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence suggested it's no big deal and told the paper gun shops may simply be catching on to the draw of Black Friday deals.

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association adds his own two cents to the speculation. In a conversation this morning about the Black Friday numbers, he points out that gun sales have hit record after record since Barack Obama was elected president.

"Every month the numbers are up," he says, noting the long-held concern of Obama's administration chipping away at the right to bear arms. "There's a fear, and there has been a fear, that things will change."

Marbut also echos the reasons offered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Since he started a firearm safety and training class in 1995 he's graduated 3,500 students, more than half of which are women, he says. Demand for the class has increased over the last three years.

"A lot of us in the gun community are impressed with these soaring numbers," he says. "There doesn't seem to be an end to it."

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