Big spike in Illinois gun sales on Black Friday

December 2, 2011 (CHICAGO)

On Black Friday, guns appear to have been popular gift purchases. According to Illinois State Police records, there was a giant jump in gun owner background checks on Black Friday. And, if all those gift guns are used on Christmas, it may be anything but a silent night.

As Illinois shoppers fanned out to malls and stores to search for that special holiday gift, for a record number of people, that purchase was a Glock, Smith and Wesson or some other gun. The number of Illinois residents who applied for firearm owner identification cards -- or FOID cards -- on Black Friday was an all-time high.

On Black Friday 2010 there were more than 2,000 applications for new firearm owner cards.

This year that number soared to nearly 2,900. That's 853 more than in 2010, a 42 percent increase from last year's total, according to state police records obtained by the I-Team.

FBI figures obtained by USA Today show that Illinois is part of a nationwide Black Friday trend of turning to firearms for this holiday season.

The previous record for FBI background check applications -- part of purchasing a new gun -- was on Black Friday 2008 with nearly 98,000 applications.

This year there were nearly 130,000 applications. This year's total is more than 31,000 more than that record, a 32 percent increase.

It is likely that the number of guns bought on Black Friday is actually higher than all those figures, because background checks are done on individuals, who might purchase more than one.

For now, it is impossible to know what kinds of guns will be unwrapped on Christmas morning, whether they will be used for personal protection or hunting turtle doves.

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