(WASHINGTON) — A total of 202,465 firearm background checks were run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check system on Black Friday, making it the second-highest single-day for these checks, according to data from the FBI.
The number of background checks this year increased 11 percent versus 2018 but 2017’s Black Friday had a slightly higher total of 203,086.
The FBI emphasized that the data does not represent the number of firearms sold but rather the number of firearm background checks initiated, and a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.
Jurgen Brauer, the chief economist at Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting, an industry analytics firm, said it is nearly impossible to calculate actual single-day gun sales with the data available.
“The background checks are not equivalent to unit sales,” he told ABC News Tuesday. “Nobody knows what amount of firearms are actually purchased.”
“If you have one handgun background check then you can purchase more than one handgun,” Brauer said. “You possibly could have bought three or five.”
In addition, some state laws require licensed gun owners to be re-checked, which can also skew the data.
“States like Kentucky, for instance, run about 300,000 background checks every month for firearms license holder or permit holders,” he said, adding that they are often called “re-checks.”
“That doesn’t mean that 300,000 Kentuckians rebuy a firearm,” he noted.
Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting estimates that November 2019 firearm sales “may come in at about 1.5 million units, and December 2019 sales as high as 1.7 to 1.8 million,” according to its own algorithm for calculating sales. The firm predicts the 2019 total gun sales will be higher than 2018, but lower than 2016 and 2017.
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