Gun sales surge during holiday season

Published: Dec. 2, 2011 at 11:34 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 1, 2012 at 11:34 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Black Friday posted record numbers this time around. Big TV's, video games and even waffle makers. A large variety of top sellers this Black Friday.

But people were buying more than just toys and clothes this year-- it appears they were buying guns.

"Several times we had lines waiting to get in the store," Owner of Hyatt Gun Shop Larry Hyatt said.

Hyatt did the math for his Black Friday sales. It breaks down to a gun sold every 7 minutes for the 8 hours they were opened that day.

"Gun sales are up all over the country and have been for several years and naturally on the biggest shopping day of the year with a popular product...we were slammed," Hyatt said.

Don Ingram at Carolina Sporting Arms says there was an increase in traffic and gun purchases at his store on Black Friday and the Saturday after too.

"It was a bit of a boost," Ingram said.

The FBI reports a record number of background check requests on Black Friday - 129,166. The last highest day was on November 28, 2008 with 97, 848 requests.

But those numbers don't reflect actual gun sales. It could be more if folks purchased multiple firearms at a time. The FBI does not keep a record of the number of guns sold.

Folks give several reason for the surge in sales. Not only are they seeing Christmas buyers but keep in mind it's hunting season. And according to some gun shop owners, they're seeing an increase in first time buyers and more women buyers..

"In fact for the first time in our conceal carry permit classes we're seeing more women than men," Hyatt said.

"We average 50 percent of our handgun buyers are either first time or female," Ingram said.

While some are skeptical about the reason for the gun sale surge, saying gun companies are just creating their own Black Friday frenzy, these gun shop owners don't expect the sales to slow down anytime soon.

There's been a big push from the people in power when it comes to gun rights. A new North Carolina law went into effect Thursday which expands the right to protect yourself with deadly force. The House recently passed a bill that would allow a concealed carry permit in one state to be valid in other states where people had the right to carry a concealed weapon.

Gun shop owners say they also see strong sales during an election year because of the unknowns.

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