Why Did Gun Sales Skyrocket on Black Friday?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

As Opposing Views previously reported, gun sales surged on Black Friday, with a record 129,166 background checks requested on that day. But why? Well, that depends on whom you ask.

MSNBC looked into it and got a wide variety of opinions. One analyst said it is because of the changing views on guns.

"Whereas five years ago it was politically incorrect (to own guns), what seems to be changing is social acceptance," said Bret Jordan, analyst at investment firm Avondale Partners. "The general trend is it's more socially acceptable to own a gun in the United States than it was five to six years ago."

That may very well be, as a large number of gun buyers have never owned a weapon before.

"Retailers tell us 25 percent of customers are first-time buyers," said Larry Keane, vice president and general counsel at the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

There was also a surge of weapons purchases after President Obama's election in 2008, amid fear he would impose strict regulations on gun ownership. However that involved mostly military-style weapons. Those regulations never came to pass, and now the purchases are different.

"These numbers have been relatively strong, and I think more of it has been the trend towards lower-priced, smaller weapons," said Cai von Rumohr, managing director at investment company Cowen & Co.

However the Brady Campaign doesn't see a trend at all. Director of communications Caroline Brewer called the Black Friday surge a "one-time event," saying it "may be the result of marketing."

Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure -- most people bought the guns for themselves, not as Christmas gifts for others. MSNBC points out that many states have laws against buying guns for other people.