For the second consecutive year, prospective gun buyers joined Black Friday shoppers in record numbers as firearms dealers swamped the FBI with required buyer background check requests.The FBI fielded 154,873 calls, a roughly 20 per cent increase from last year’s previous one-day record of 129,166, according to bureau records.
The requests came in such volume throughout the day that FBI call centres experienced two brief outages — one of 18 minutes and one for 14 minutes — during the busy day, bureau spokesman Stephen Fischer said Monday.
The FBI does not track actual gun sales. But the number of firearms sold Friday is likely higher because multiple firearms can be included in one transaction by a single buyer.
Dealers attributed the continuing gun surge to a variety of factors, including an increase in women buyers and concerns that lawmakers in President Obama’s second term could impose stricter gun laws. Among them: a possible attempt to renew a ban on assault weapons. Even so, neither Obama nor Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney offered such proposals during the just-completed campaign.
“With the recent election, some people are making buying decisions just in case something (new law) happens,” said Don Gallardo, manager of Shooter’s World in Phoenix. Gallardo said his store recorded a 10 per cent increase in Black Friday sales. Gallardo said buyers cited similar reasons right after Obama won his first term in 2008.
Although handguns are generally the firearms of choice at Shooter’s World, Gallardo said assault rifles, shotguns and other long guns nearly surpassed Friday’s handgun sales.
Nationally, nearly 62 per cent of Friday background check requests involved long guns, according to the FBI.
As in Phoenix, Friday sales were equally brisk at Guns Galore in Killeen, Texas. Salesman Greg Ebert said business benefited from the surge in holiday bargain hunters and an increase in the number of women buyers.
Ebert said the store doesn’t specifically track sales by gender. “We’re just a three-person operation here,” he said. But Ebert said women are increasingly represented in daily store traffic.
“Women have taken a strong interest in shooting sports,” Ebert said. “I think they see target shooting and other shooting sports as another form of relaxation.”
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