By most accounts last week’s Black Friday sales were tepid at best, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed one product that was flying off the shelves in the United States: guns.
According to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, 185,345 requests for background checks were processed on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving, which is considered the biggest shopping day of the year.
"This was an approximate 5 percent increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014," according to Stephen Fischer, the FBI's chief of multimedia productions, who wrote to USA Today newspaper. "The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on 12/21/2012."
The FBI also said that Black Fridays from 2012 to 2014 also were among the bureau’s “top 10” days of most background checks. Since 1998, when the FBI started keeping the data, some 220 million firearms have been purchased.
Gun sales are also known to spike after mass shootings.
The previous record came one week after the December, 2012 murder of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
While gun laws differ among the various states, common reasons for someone to fail a background check can include having a criminal background or domestic violence convictions.
Spurred by the mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood location last week, President Obama sought more control of firearms sales.
"This is not normal," Obama said. "We can't let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough."
One pro-gun group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the website Guns.com that they could not point to the reason for the trend, but according to a spokesman, the group thinks the trend is caused by “more individuals making the decision to exercise their right to keep and bear arms” and a “rising interest in target shooting.”