The FBI posted a nearly eight percent decline in background checks for Black Friday gun purchases, even as the pandemic, volatile social protests and election-year politics have driven a year-long surge in firearm sales, USA Today reports. While the 186,645 checks was a slight drop from 2019, this year’s number still marked the fourth-largest one day total on record. Background checks, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales, but the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is a way to gauge market demand. The number of firearms sold Friday is likely higher because several firearms can be included in one transaction.
Black Friday traditionally has been one of the busiest for FBI analysts. Already this year, the FBI has posted 32.1 million checks as the deadly virus has fueled public fear and President Donald Trump has repeatedly warned that Joe Biden’s election would threaten gun rights. Six times this year, the monthly check numbers surpassed three million, while the June number fell just short of four million. Throughout his losing campaign, Trump put gun rights on the front burner in an attempt to excite voters. In one rally, he warned that Democrats would “either obliterate (the Second Amendment) to a point of no return or actually terminate it.” Biden has offered no such proposal, but he advocates some restrictions, such as an expansion of background checks – an idea that Trump briefly weighed last year. Biden proposes a ban on the manufacture and sale of weapons with high-capacity ammunition magazines.