Pretty much all year we’ve been seeing stories from various media outlets saying how the gun industry has been flagging since January, that sales are down in the post-Obama political landscape, only spiking after sensationalized mass shootings.
Well, if that’s the case, gun buyers didn’t know about it on the recent Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.
According to this story from USA Today, the FBI was flooded with more than 200,000 NICS background check requests on Friday, setting a new single day record.
Of course, NICS checks are not a direct corollary to the number of guns sold, but they are a good indicator.
To be exact, the FBI processed 203,086 NICS background check requests throughout the day, the story says which is up from 185,713 last year and 185,345 in 2015.
The story points out that the record day for NICS checks comes a few days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the ATF to conduct a sweeping review of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System after it was revealed that a court-martialed and previously institutionalized Air Force veteran’s records were apparently not submitted to the NICS system, allowing him to pass a background check and buy a rifle which he used to kill 25 people inside a Sutherland Springs, Texas church earlier this month.
“Following the shooting, the Air Force acknowledged it had not provided the FBI with details of the court martial, which likely would have blocked the 2016 sale of the murder weapon to Devin Kelley.”
“The breakdown in the Kelley case highlighted longstanding problems within the system, which for more than 20 years has served as the centerpiece of the government’s effort to block criminals from obtaining firearms. Yet it has largely struggled to keep pace with the volume of firearm transactions and still properly maintain the databases of criminal and mental health records necessary to determine whether buyers are eligible to purchase guns.” “Last year, the FBI official overseeing NICS was forced to transfer personnel from construction projects and units that oversee the gathering of crime statistics to keep up with the surge of requests for background checks. The office processed a record 27.5 million background checks in 2016.”
“Stephen Morris, a former assistant FBI director, told USA TODAY after the shooting that the NICS system has long been plagued by incomplete or outdated information.”
In the case of the Texas church shooter, a number of opportunities to prevent him from buying firearms using NICS were missed.
“In Kelley’s case, the Air Force not only failed to provide the record of his conviction — it also missed other potential opportunities to alert the FBI to Kelley’s legal troubles,” the story says. “Among them: his initial arrest on domestic abuse charges and his 2012 escape from a New Mexico behavioral health facility, where he was being treated for “mental disorders” in advance of a court martial proceeding.”