The resilience of America's interest in our Second Amendment freedoms is always reassuring in light of a media and political machine that would have us all believe that gun owners are inherently evil.
For the third consecutive year – and this time without the looming threat of anti-gun politicians in power, background checks on Black Friday broke the record. The FBI reported 203,086 background checks were run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This beat the previous single day record by more than seventeen thousand checks. The two-previous single-day records were Black Friday 2016 (185,713 checks) and Black Friday 2015 (185,345).
Three consecutive years may make a pattern. External factors almost certainly play a part, whether those factors are as charged as fear after high-profile mass shootings or as mundane as people having better financial situations than in years past. Black Friday always comes in the midst of the fall hunting season and kicks off the traditional holiday shopping period. We saw a litany of sales and rebates this year. Some combination of all of these factors is likely the real driving force behind the string of Black Friday records.
Will Black Friday 2017 put claims of a “Trump Slump” to bed? Probably not, but not for lack of reason. We know long-term trends in gun sales remain strong. We also know that the number of permit checks conducted by the FBI has grown consistently over the last ten years (among the states that use NICS for this purpose), including the first year of the Trump Administration.