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Black Friday's surprise big seller? Guns

TSA finds record firearms

Black Friday may appeal to Americans looking for a bargain on electronics or clothing, but another type of product is on its way to becoming a staple on holiday lists: firearms. 

The FBI received more than 203,000 requests for background checks on gun purchases on Black Friday, the agency said in an email, a record for one day. Indeed, Black Friday is becoming a popular day to buy guns, given the FBI's previous record-setting days for background checks on firearms purchases were set on Black Friday in 2016 and 2015

The boost in gun sales comes as firearms makers slash prices because of an inventory glut built up after the industry increased production amid fears the Obama administration would tighten gun control laws.

Attorney general orders review of background checks for gun purchases

At the same time, the retail gun market is changing. Outdoor-gear and firearms retailers Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's are merging, while rival Gander Mountain is liquidating. Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), meanwhile, has cited soft sales in its hunting business. 

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

The jump in background requests comes less than a week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the FBI database used to check prospective gun buyers. 

The background database is drawing scrutiny after the US Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who murdered more than two dozen people at a Texas church. That failure allowed him to buy weapons. 

The review will examine whether other government agencies are failing to report information to the database. Sessions also wants a report of how many times the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have investigated and prosecuted people for laying on their gun-purchase applications. 

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