The FBI conducted a record number of background checks driven by firearms sales for the month of November, indicating that gun sales were at an all time high for the seventh month in a row.
The Bureau processed 2,243,030 checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in November, an increase of 236,111 checks over the previous record set in 2012. Background checks have continually set monthly records since May.
The numbers were fueled in part by record sales performed on Black Friday. The FBI did 175,754 checks on that day alone, the Trace reports.
Since all firearms transactions done through licensed gun dealers, including all new gun purchases, require a background check, the number of checks done in a month is considered a reliable measure of gun sales. However, the standard does not represent a one to one calculation for a number of reasons. Federal law and most state laws do not require a background check on sales of used guns between private parties. Additionally, some states perform FBI background checks on those who apply for gun carry permits.
With 19,827,376 checks performed thus far, 2015 remains on pace to break the record for checks in a year. In order to pass 2013's record of 21,093,273 checks there need to be 1,265,897 checks in December. December hasn't seen fewer than 2,000,000 checks since 2011.
Gun rights activists said the combination of increased calls for new gun control measures from leading Democrats and recent terrorist attacks have driven the record sales numbers.
"Between the red hot rhetoric calling for new expanded gun control laws and acts of violent terrorism it is no surprise that people are stocking up on guns and ammunition," Alan Gottlieb, who created the Second Amendment Foundation, said. "This trend will continue as long as the public feels threatened by government regulations and believes that they are the first line of defense when it comes to Homeland Security."