In the wake of the San Bernardino mass shooting, was the “Black Friday” record-setting number of background check applications reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) earlier this week a signal of things to come?
USA Today and NSSF both reported that the NICS system, which is operated by the FBI, processed 185,345 requests on Black Friday.
Anti-gunners including President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley are already talking about guns in the wake of the San Bernardino attack, which is usually a signal that gun sales are about to skyrocket. Some political commentators are already using the “T” word, while others have tried to dismiss the California carnage as “workplace violence.”
Whatever it turns out to be, people are keeping their eyes on what happens with the National Instant Check System (NICS) in the days ahead, because the San Bernardino slaughter is a wake-up call that violence can happen anywhere at any time, and it is ultimately up to each individual to provide for his or her own safety.
In its weekly “Bullet Points” bulletin, the NSSF reported, “For the entire Nov. 26-29 2015 four-day Black Friday period 368,774 checks were completed, a 9.9 percent increase over the 335,555 checks conducted over the corresponding 2014 four-day period.”
NSSF was careful to couch this number with the caveat that “…these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold. Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.”
But the numbers do suggest strongly that a lot of people are shopping, and they’re doing that in gun shops and sporting goods stores. Retailers don’t run background checks on people who are buying shoes, towels, bed linens or clothing.
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