Black Friday sales usually make people think of hot deals on home appliances, electronics or clothes. But what about guns?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2011’s Black Friday saw the most background check requests in a single day, with 129,166 requests being made to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This eclipsed the previous record of Black Friday in 2008, in which 97,848 requests were made of the NICS, and far surpassed 2010’s Black Friday request number of 87,601.
In Federal Way, the national trend was pretty much reflected, said John Powell, store manager for Wholesale Sports. The store, located on South 348th Street, sells both hunting firearms and handguns.
“It was good, for sure,” Powell said. “I don’t honestly know if it was a record or not. It was definitely busy. We sold well over 50 firearms for the day.”
Wholesale Sports’ numbers were close to a Missouri store featured in an ABC News report. That store, MC Sports in Springfield, Mo., sold 70 guns total on Black Friday, with ABC indicating it was a mix of “rifles and handguns.” One of the questions that many are asking about the Black Friday record is whether most of the sales consisted of new buyers — or gun enthusiasts just expanding their collection.
Powell said in Federal Way, it was pretty close to a half-and-half mix.
“It was some of both. We certainly had some of our regular customers here. But we also had some great deals on firearms, where I think people said ‘The deal is just too good,'” Powell said.
In an interview on the National Rifle Association website, Chris Irwin, owner of The Gun Store in Las Vegas, said his store also experienced a slight bump in sales on Black Friday.
“We did definitely see a little bit of a spike there,” he told the NRA.
Irwin believes that the increase in sales is coming from first-time buyers. When asked if he is seeing new faces in the store these days, he replied:
“Absolutely. I think it has to do with concealed firearm reciprocity going across our nation. And I think it also has to deal with the typical first-time gun purchaser. Someone who’s been saying ‘I need to get something to protect myself, and I’ve been thinking about this for awhile’ or ‘My neighbor’s house got broken into and I realize I don’t have anything.'”
Local headlines in Federal Way and the Puget Sound region highlight the fact that more law enforcement officers are being laid off and public safety is being sacrificed for budget cuts. NRA spokesman Andrew Arulananbam said he feels people are realizing it’s going to be up to them to protect themselves going forward.
“They read in the headlines stories about prisoners having furloughs and law enforcement being laid off,” Arulananbam told ABC News. “They realize it’s going to be up to them to protect themselves and their families.”