JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Toys and electronics were not the only big ticket items purchased on Black Friday this year.
Black Friday was the biggest day on record for FBI background checks, which loosely track nationwide gun sales. The FBI reported 203,086 background checks for gun sales on Friday.
Black Friday is typically the biggest day of the year for gun purchases and therefore background checks, fueled by holiday shopping and the fall hunting season. The previous record of 185,000 background checks on Black Friday 2016 narrowly beat the record set on Black Friday 2015.
In Florida, gun buyers were also out in force on Black Friday this year as 10,976 people sought to purchase a gun. That number is about 9 percent higher than Black Friday last year and nearly 40 percent higher than the 6,700 gun buyers in 2013.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesperson Gretl Plessinger said the checks were steady throughout Friday.
“It's a good indicator that gun sales are up. We don't track gun sales. We track the number of background checks we do, and that's not necessarily equal to gun sales," Plessinger said. "So one could think they were going to purchase a gun, and decide not to purchase a firearm, or they could maybe purchase two on an approval, for example.”
Another 7,300 people also applied to purchase guns on Saturday and Sunday. So far this year, the FDLE has conducted just over 865,000 background checks. The state set a record last year when the number of gun buyers surpassed the 1 million mark.
Managers at Green Acres Sporting Goods on Jacksonville's Westside told News4Jax on Monday that Black Friday firearm sales were phenomenal compared to years past.
Store manager Z. Farhat said three things may have contributed to the record number of gun sales and instant background checks on Black Friday: An improving economy, the urgent need for protection and a slash on gun prices.
"We did see a massive influx of people coming in to buy firearms that day," Farhat said. "Really, the whole weekend, but especially on that Friday."
Farhat said Black Friday sales at his store likely has more to do with people wanting to protect themselves, combined with lower prices on specific weapons and ammunition. He said SCCY 9mms and compact .380s both sold out on Friday. Both normally sell for $300, but were marked down to below $200.
“Those guns are really designed for conceal carry," Farhat said. "A lot of people buying those guns buy them to carry on them or to keep in their vehicles or to have for home protection."
He said the Mossberg Shockwave was another weapon that was very popular on Black Friday.
“It's classified as a firearm because a shotgun is considered a long gun, and the barrel has to be over a certain amount of inches. This gun is shorter than that, so it’s not classified as a pistol either," Farhat said.
The Green Acres manager said he didn't have an exact number of Mossberg Shockwaves sold, but he said he knows he sold a lot.
Zarhat added that his store has seen a significant number of people signing up for gun safety classes.