Gun sellers submitted 202,465 background checks as part of the sale process on Nov. 29, according to new data released by the FBI. That number fell just short of the all-time single-day record of 203,086, which was set on Black Friday in 2017. Background checks spiked by 11 per cent over the same time last year, the data shows.
“This tells us Americans are voting with their wallets when it comes to their ability to exercise Second Amendment rights,” Mark Oliva, a spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Fox Business on Monday.
It also tells us that Americans have not been deterred by another year of deadly gun violence in the United States.
There have been 389 mass shootings so far this year, surpassing the total for each of the previous five years, according to the Gun Violence Archive. (The research group, which tracks all cases of gun violence in the U.S., considers a mass shooting to be one in which four or more people are shot.)
The year has been marred by several high-profile mass killings, including a workplace shooting in Aurora, Ill., that left five dead, a shooting in Virginia Beach that killed 12 and another at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., where three victims died and a dozen were injured. There were also back-to-back incidents during one weekend in early August. A lone gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 others at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3. One day later, a shooter killed nine people and injured 27 others outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio.
Each case touched off renewed debate about gun control. However, the FBI numbers show that if anything, the market for guns has only increased this year.
Oliva says the FBI numbers are the best indicator for firearms sales, although they’re more of a ballpark figure. Permit checks and re-checks can inflate the numbers, but buyers can also purchase multiple weapons under one background check.
The numbers also do not include weapons sold at gun shows and through some online sellers, which do not typically involve background checks.
Although the market for guns remains robust, some retailers have scaled back their offerings in the wake of public pressure.
Walmart opted to stop selling handgun ammunition following the shooting at its El Paso store. The retailer also stopped selling handguns in Alaska and clamped down on open-carry rules in its stores.
Dick’s Sporting Goods has also tightened up its weapons sales since a mass shooting in 2012.
No high-income country sees more gun violence than the United States, according to a study published this year in the American Journal of Medicine.
The study found that the murder rate involving guns is 25 times higher than in other high-income countries. Gun-related suicides were also eight times higher.
The newly released FBI data shows that the week of U.S. Thanksgiving this year was the ninth-busiest on record for background checks. The three highest-ever weeks took place in December, so perhaps this isn’t the end of the 2019 gun rush.