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Three background checks per second; Black Friday’s buying frenzy resulted in the largest ever number of firearms purchased on the US retail day. More than 175,000 gun background checks in total.
It has been an American tradition to purchase guns on Black Friday over the past years and this year was no different. The number of background checks does not however tell the whole story, the NICS system usually takes three business days to complete a check, and the applicant could be purchasing more than one firearm on a single sale.
“We’re processing approximately two checks per second. And starting around 11 a.m., we’ll bump that up to three checks per second,” Kimberly Del Greco, an FBI manager with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
“We started processing background checks at 4:30 this morning. As of 8 a.m., we processed 23,000 checks. From the hour of 9 to 10 before I took the call, we brought in another 10,000 checks,” she added. “So we are truly seeing that spike that we thought we would get today. We’re expecting to process about 144,000 checks. And we also expect today to hit our 200 millionth check since the inception of NICS.”
In reality, Del Greco’s team of 600 FBI contractors and employees processed well more than expected ? 175,000 background checks ? over the course of the day. They brought in an additional 100 workers than usual. And no one was allowed to take leave.
“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,” FBI spokesman Stephen G. Fischer told CNN Friday afternoon, before the final numbers were in.