Gun background checks hit an all-time high on Black Friday

Image Mike Acevedo Puts a Weapon on Display at the National Armory gun store

Shoppers were taking advantage of discounts, but may have also been motivated by a Justice Department memo last week that directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review its background-checks system.

Hopeful gun owners sent in a record number of single-day requests to the FBI's background-check system on Friday.

Federal authorities, meanwhile, have for years openly complained that incomplete databases and staff shortages make it hard to keep pace with the constant stream of background checks required of most new gun purchasers and efficiently trace firearms used in crimes.

The FBI was flooded Friday with more than 200,000 background check requests for gun purchases, setting a new single day record, the bureau reported Saturday.

The figure smashes the previous two years' figures for background checks done on a single day.

Gun checks, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales. In recent years, mass shootings have prompted state and federal lawmakers to propose gun regulations, leading to increased gun sales.

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Current promotions on firearms include rebates and discounts on pistols and shotguns at Cabela's, as well as deals on guns at Walmart and other retailers.

The surge in gun sales comes mere days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) after the man who killed 25 people in a church in Texas was allowed to purchase a gun despite having a criminal record.

While many Americans were buying furniture and appliances on Black Friday, a record number were also seeking clearance to purchase guns.

Sessions said the November 5 shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, by Devin Kelley, a former Air Force serviceman who had a 2012 conviction for domestic assault, showed that not all the necessary information was being added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Reports that the shooter, a court-martialed Air Force veteran, cleared a background check enabling him to buy his weapon have spurred renewed debate about gun control.

At the same time, the retail gun market is changing.