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Black Friday 2023: What if Guns Were Gaming Rigs?



Did we say “wow”? Because wow. (Image courtesy NSSF)

Just for a minute, pretend that this article is about gaming consoles.

Black Friday isn’t just the most popular shopping day of the year. It’s also one of the most accurate bellwethers of American sentiment and attitudes towards money. If you believe nothing else, believe that the Powers That Be care deeply–more than almost anything–about how we spend our money. So let’s pretend we’re talking about gaming rigs–small(ish) consumer goods that retail in the hundreds of dollars. Let’s pretend that we just learned that 3/4 of a million gaming consoles were sold last week alone. Then let’s pretend that the U.S. President has just announced that he intends to ban and confiscate any gaming console capable of running first-person shooter games, as well as the games themselves.

You’d think he was insane, and the media would agree, right? Imagine the headlines! Now, pretend that the Bill of Rights has an amendment–right at the top–that specifically protects your right to play Silent Hill. You’d have a nice, cozy sense that the presidential ban announcement would be swiftly followed by a congressional impeachment hearing.

But this article isn’t about XBoxes and Nintendos. It’s about firearms, and that’s why the media will continue to tout and laud Biden’s bans, no matter what.

Here’s the data!


NSSF revealed that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) completed 680,671 background checks related to firearms for the week leading up to, and including, “Black Friday,” one of the busiest shopping days of the year. That figure is down slightly from 2022’s total of 711,372 for the same time period. The 2023 total is a 4.3 percent decrease from the 2022 figure.

FBI NICS completed 214,913 background checks on “Black Friday” alone. That is the highest figure recorded for a “Black Friday.” The figure approximates firearm sales at retail on that day, although it also includes background checks for other purposes related to firearms such as approvals for concealed carry permits. NSSF will later this week release its Adjusted NICS figures for November reflecting only those background checks related to the sale of a firearm at retail.

NSSF has worked with firearm retailers to spread out special sales offers to customers throughout the week leading up to “Black Friday” so as not to overwhelm FBI NICS on a single day, which can result in longer than normal wait times.

“The background checks reported by the FBI are in keeping with the trends NSSF has seen throughout the year. Firearm sales remain consistently strong, with over a million per month for more than four years running,” explained Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”

Annual background check data shows that firearm sales will typically rise during the final months of the year coinciding with hunting seasons and holiday sales.

Below are the breakout tables for each day of unadjusted FBI NICS background checks.

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023: 95,354

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023: 52,521

Monday, Nov. 20, 2023: 79,970

Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023: 101,199

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023: 110,703

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023: 26,011

Friday, Nov. 24, 2023: 214,913


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