Background Check Record Set On Black Friday 2023

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Talk about a big day for firearms retailers! The FBI’s NICS background check system set an all-time single-day record on Black Friday of 2023. (Botach)

The Firearm Industry Trade Association (NSSF) says Black Friday was a huge day for gun sales again in 2023, and the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was very busy. The authorities say they performed the largest number of NICS checks ever on a single day. However, the number of background checks over the whole week was behind 2022’s number and also slightly behind the figure for 2021.

Black Friday, which follows directly after the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving Day, typically has massive sales promotions from American retailers. It’s often the biggest commerce day of the year. According to the NSSF, NICS performed 680,671 firearms-related background checks during the week that led up to and included so-called Black Friday (in 2023, that date fell on November 24).

That number is a 4 percent drop from the 711,372 background checks of the 2022 Black Friday week. In 2021, the FBI said there were 687,788 background checks, almost right in-line with this year’s figure, but the 2023 numbers also represent a slide from that year’s figures. In 2020, numbers might have been expected to be high as well, but COVID-19 lockdowns restricted sales that year.

You might think a slide in sales figures represents a weakening economy, but the number of background checks does not accurately either the number of firearms sold or the money spent. Remember that multiple or no firearms can be purchased on the background check. Other things like concealed carry permits fall under the system, and the NSSF won’t release more detailed figures on actual gun sales until later.

Background Check Bonanza

Also note that while the entire week saw a slight drop in sales, Black Friday itself set an all-time record for background checks this year. On November 24, 2023, there were 214,913 NICS checks. The previous all-time record was 192,749 NICS checks, on Black Friday of 2022.

BACKGROUND CHECK

The NSSF says it asks retailers to spread their sales out over the week so the NICS checks don’t get bottlenecked on Black Friday.

Joe Bartozzi, president and CEO of the NSSF, says this year’s numbers are in touch with what the group saw all through 2023 and over the past four years: “These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”

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