WASHINGTON — US firearms sales reached a record 129,166 during last week's Black Friday that kicked off the holiday shopping season, a 32 percent increase from the previous all-time high, officials said.
The FBI confirmed the jump from the last peak of 97,848 weapons sold during Black Friday of 2008, telling AFP that "we do not have an explanation for the increase."
The figures, first reported by USA Today, are based on the number of background check requests for prospective buyers sent by gun dealers to the FBI.
Part of the increase was attributed to a growing number of first-time buyers who are purchasing firearms for protection, while more women are engaging in sport shooting and hunting.
"There also is a burgeoning awakening of the American public that they do have a constitutional right to own guns," National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Larry Keane told the newspaper.
He said 25 percent of the purchases are usually made by first-time buyers, including many women.
But Dennis Henigan, acting president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said "there may be no real significance at all" to the Black Friday surge.
"It's possible that gun companies are just catching on to creating a Black Friday frenzy for themselves," he said.
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