On Black Friday this year, American shoppers may have bought record numbers of a perennial favorite: guns. The FBI says it had 203,086 requests for background checks on Friday, smashing the previous single-day record of 185,713, which was set on Black Friday last year, USA Today reports. The actual number of guns sold may be even higher, since shoppers buying multiple firearms only require one background check.
But as NPR explains, "Background checks are considered the best available proxy for gun purchases since overall sales numbers are not made public." The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which allows most shoppers to buy a gun in minutes, is struggling under demand that has risen from 1 million requests for checks in 1998 to a record 27.5 million last year.