Shop owners across the US have reported a marked increase in interest over the holiday season, and gun background checks hit a new record on Black Friday
This year, among the socks and sweaters, bottles of wine, a large number of Americans will find another present: guns.
Gun shop owners across the US have reported a marked increase in interest in their products over the holidays. In November, the FBI ran more than 2.2m gun background checks, a 24% increase from last year. Gun background checks hit a new record on Black Friday, when 185,345 were processed by the FBI.
FBI background checks, which are processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, are not the most accurate indicator of actual gun sales. The checks are conducted for federally licensed gun purchases and for permits to carry guns. A background check does not mean that a gun was purchased. Shoppers can also purchase multiple guns with one sale, which requires just one background check. However, manufacturers rely on the background check statistics to measure how the industry is doing.
This holiday season, the industry seems to be booming.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, many shoppers looked to purchase a gun on Black Friday. Belinda Gallegos, who is a co-owner of ABQ Guns, told KOAT Action 7 News that most of those people were shopping for guns as Christmas gifts.
“They’ll come in, then they’ll be looking and they’ll leave, then I’ll get a call: ‘Hey, remember that gun we were looking at? Well, she really liked it so I am going to come get it. Don’t tell her.’ Five minutes later, ‘Hey, remember that gun he really liked?’” said Gallegos .
Kelly Womack, who is a co-owner of Fort Chaffee Outfitters in Arkansas, said her store sold 40 guns on Black Friday and “a lot of those were gifts”. “What we didn’t sell in guns, we sold in accessories, which were gifts,” Womack told KFSM, a local TV station .
According to Womack, purchasing guns as Christmas presents is legal as long as it is for someone in the same state and all of the appropriate paperwork is filled out. It is illegal to purchase a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to have one. Those receiving the gun also should not be paying for the gun that’s intended as a gift.
“If Mr Smith asked Mr Jones to purchase a firearm for Mr Smith, and Mr Smith gives Mr Jones the money for the firearm, that’s clearly not a gift,” explained Womack.
In North Carolina, the New Hanover County sheriff is urging those planning to give someone a gun for Christmas to do their research.
“Know that they can possess that gun,” Lieutenant Jerry Brewer told the local TV station, WECT . “If there’s any outlying issues in terms of being a felon, there’s some other issues there, some other laws. Make sure they can possess that gun, if they can’t, there’s no point in buying it.”
The sheriff’s office also encouraged everyone giving and receiving guns for Christmas to learn how to take caution with their newly purchased firearm.
“It’s not something you want to purchase, stick in a closet and never use,” explained Brewer. “You need to know how to break it down you need to know how to clean it, you need to know how to use it. Whether that’s going with a family member to practice shooting, we have multiple shooting ranges here.”
In Kingsport, Tennessee, among those hoping to get a gun for Christmas were 27-year-old Cory Edson, who was looking for his first gun, and eight-year-old Curtis Childress, who has been shooting since he was four.
“Gun sales are up, especially this month for us. We have probably doubled last month’s sales,” Gary Wells, owner of Freedom Firearms where the two were shopping, told WCYB.
“It is Christmas time. It is a good time to shop,” Edson said.
Louis Cole was browsing the shelves at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia when he was approached by Gabe Gutierrez, a reporter with Today show . Cole already owns a gun. He was there, shopping for his wife.
“Like any good husband, I asked for the list of Christmas items that you’d like to have and one of the items was a firearm,’’ Cole said. “Above jewelry was a firearm.”
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