This year's “Black Friday” broke all previous records for the number of background checks for gun purchases filed in a single day, with over 185,000 processed within 24 hours.
There is no single day more dedicated to celebrating American consumerism than the infamous “Black Friday.” Though the stereotypical Black Friday shopper is clawing his or her way to the front of the line to get first grabs at discounted flat screen TVs, this most recent Black Friday saw a surge in another type of purchase. This year’s Black Friday broke all previous records for gun purchases made in a single day, with the FBI counting more than 185,713 necessary background checks required for firearm purchase filed in a 24-hour period. The background checks are processed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) every time someone purchases a gun from a federally licensed dealer, making the checks an unofficial way of tracking US gun sales. Last year’s Black Friday was the previous record holder, though this year saw nearly 400 more transactions. This year’s figures equate to approximately two background checks per second, or enough weapons to arm all 182,000 active duty members of the US Marine Corps.
Black Friday is often one of the biggest days of the year for gun purchases, as steep discounts boost sales. However, gun sales have been surging all year. Gunmaker Strum, Ruger, & Co. said in its third-quarter earnings statement that gun demand increased significantly this summer, likely due to tensions related to the US election. Gun ownership remains a politically divisive issue, despite the fact that the right to own guns is in the US Bill of Rights. Gun purchases typically soar when politicians work to increase regulations and ease of access. For example, many gun owners and enthusiasts sought to make purchases prior to the election before the possibility of a Clinton presidency, as Clinton had promised to outlaw assault weapons and make gun purchases more difficult.
Regardless of one’s opinion concerning the issues of gun ownership in the United States, it is US law that its citizens have the right to own weapons to protect themselves. Gun rights in the US are enshrined in the second amendment of the Bill of Rights and this was included in one of the nation’s founding documents, with the intention of empowering American citizens to protect themselves from standing armies and to prevent tyrannical governments from seizing power. Now the US is confronted by a militarized police presence and a government that protects corporations who steal from the people. The Current State of Affairs in the US may soon reveal if the second amendment will live up to its intended purpose.
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