Forget the Xboxes, iPhones and Tickle Me Elmos — Americans were really going crazy for guns this Black Friday, in record-setting numbers.
The typical Black Friday boom in gun sales doubles the number of background checks handled by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), from one per second on an average day to two per second.
By Friday afternoon, that figure had reached three checks per second, CNN reported, putting 2014 on track to blow past the prior Black Friday record of 144,758 FBI-processed gun transactions in a single day.
“We are averaging three checks per second,” FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer said on Friday afternoon.
Noting that the FBI typically brings in 100 extra employees to help handle the Black Friday load, Fischer said, ”The challenge is to have staff keep up with this volume. We do that by limiting personal leave, asking employees to work extra shifts and reutilizing former…employees to serve in NICS during this busy period.”
Fischer said FBI employees would work through the weekend to process the backlog generated by booming sales in the more than 48,000 U.S. gun retailers.
Officials told CNN that roughly 2 percent of Black Friday background checks will likely not be completed due to insufficient information; in 2013, the FBI completed 21 million background checks and officials said that 1.1 percent of those checks resulted in a denied gun purchase.