INDIANAPOLIS, Ind- Black Friday is a busy day for employees working in retail, but as it turns out, Black Friday is also a very busy day for the FBI.
Most years the bureau sees a surge in background checks due to Black Friday deals at gun stores.
"You wouldn’t find a better deal the rest of the year,” one shopper said.
It’s Black Friday at Indy Arms Company on the north side, and the deals are big.
"Some really good deals on specific guns I've been looking at,” another shopper said. “'Bout 200 off of a handgun just for home defense.”
Black Friday is consistently one of the busiest days for gun stores every year. To measure this, experts point to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check system. The last 4 Black Fridays had more background checks than any other days on record.
“You could buy 3 or 4 guns from that one background check, so it’s not going to tell you how many guns were sold but it’s a good indication," said former FBI agent Doug Kouns. He now operates his own business, Veracity IIR in the Indianapolis area.
In 2017, the FBI ran 203,086 background checks on Black Friday. So far that's the highest day on record. 2019 numbers have not been released yet.
Kouns says in situations like this where one department is overwhelmed with work, the FBI would pool resources to get the job done.
"Last year they redirected a number of resources from a number of departments… to accommodate the surge in background checks for Black Friday,” Kouns said. "They'll take people off lesser priority projects to get them over this hump.”
It's important the FBI work s quick because there is a deadline. While the system usually spits out a yes or no answer in a matter of minutes, sometimes the check comes back “delayed." In these cases, an agent has to take a closer look.
“Then the clock is on for the bureau to resolve it within 3 days or that seller can go ahead and make the transaction,” Kouns said.
Indy Arms says their store policy is to wait at least 7 days, and some stores will wait even longer. However, if 3 business days go by without an answer, they could legally make the sale.
"Ultimately they get it done," Kouns said of the checks. "It's got some flaws in it but it’s still a pretty good system.”
Kouns says it’s up to other local agencies to submit their information into the system, or else some things could be missed.