Gun dealers rack up profits in Black Friday sales

Published: Dec. 8, 2011 at 4:44 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2012 at 2:01 AM EST
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Barry Laws
Barry Laws
Jim Wright
Jim Wright

CRESTWOOD, KY (WAVE) – It's probably not a Christmas item that comes to mind when you think about Black Friday sales, but according to the numbers from one of the busiest shopping days of the year, gun dealers were racking up the profits.

Black Friday shopping was a hit for all retailers this season, but the biggest surprise gains came for gun dealers who saw a major surge in sales.

Black Friday at Open Range Sports in Crestwood, Kentucky was a powerful day.

"It was pretty crazy," said store owner Barry Laws, "we were pretty amazed about our sales."

Laws isn't alone. The FBI reports a record number of background check requests on Black Friday of this year, 129,166. That number shattered the previous record of 97,848 requests back in 2008.

The top items under the tree are .380's or pocket 9 mm: Small guns for concealed carry licenses.

"It doesn't really surprise me," said Jim Wright.

Gun enthusiasts like Wright believe more people are taking up the sport of shooting.

"I don't hunt, but I like to target shoot," said Wright.

Laws believes there are several reasons for the big gun sales - a renewed interest in self protection, more first time gun owners, and that many gun dealers also promoted good discounts and gift cards to keep up with other retailers. That's something they normally don't do.

"I think everybody wants a deal right now, so if they're getting a deal on a washing machine, why not get one on a gun," said Laws.

According to laws, in Kentucky you can gift a firearm to someone as long as they are legal to own the gun.

Open Range may also be an example of the new more socially acceptable gun store while some firearms dealers may have an old pawn shop feel here. It looks like a sporting goods store where guns are displayed on shelves like iPods.

"You know you feel like you just in a mall somewhere," said Laws. "It's not strange, there's not a bunch of gun nuts here, so we've created the safe environment and then we add all the classes and everything else that goes with it."

Those who want stronger gun laws aren't happy about the increase in gun sales on Black Friday. But according to MSNBC, anti-gun activists also attribute the surge in sales to better marketing strategies by gun dealers.

Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.