Those who expected the slump in the gun market to extend to the buyingest day in the year will be surprised: Black Friday, November 24 shattered the record for most NICS checks in a single day by over 17,000, reports USA Today. The total? 203,086 background checks processed, up from 185,713 in 2016 and 185,345 in 2015.
This record-setting day comes in defiance of a year that some have begun to call the “Trump Slump” – a slowdown in gun sales on the heels of the surprise 2016 election results. It seems likely that overall demand for guns continues to be strong, but that in the absence of any imminent gun legislation buyers have more patience to wait for sales like those offered on Black Friday. Even in the relative lull that has been 2017, gun sales continue to be brisk. As of October 2017, nearly as many NICS checks have been processed than were processed in the entire year of 2014, and NICS checks through October 2017 are 15% higher than for the first 10 months of 2015. If that trend holds true, than rather than a “slump” year, 2017 will in fact nip at the heels of record-holder 2016. We can expect at least 26.6 million NICS checks for all of 2017, against 2016’s 27.5 million checks – meaning there is still a possibility that a 2017 Christmas gun buying surge (like happened in 2015) could have 2017 taking the record for itself.
In short, 2017 doesn’t seem so much like a slump as it does a continuation of the NSSF’s “new normal” of sustained, elevated gun sales.