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Background checks for gun sales surge on Black Friday (UPDATE)

a researcher simulates a check done for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS, at the FBI’s criminal justice center in Bridgeport, W.Va. The day after the U.S Thanksgiving Day holiday, known as Black Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, as shoppers chasing bargains crowd stores, broke an FBI record for the number of firearms background checks. The agency said Tuesday that it processed 185,345 background checks — roughly two per second. (AP Photo/Matt Stroud)

A researcher simulates a check done for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System at the FBI’s criminal justice center in Bridgeport, W.Va., in 2014. Black Friday broke an FBI record for the number of firearms background checks. The agency said Tuesday that it processed 185,345 background checks — roughly two per second. (AP Photo/Matt Stroud)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Background checks for gun purchases soared to the highest one-day total ever the day after Thanksgiving in Wisconsin, mirroring a national surge on Black Friday.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice conducted 1,752 background checks on Nov. 27, department spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz told the Journal Sentinel in an email Monday.

According to Schwartz, the next-closest day for background checks in Wisconsin was 1,542 on Dec. 21, 2012, about a week after 20 children and six adults were shot to death in a Connecticut elementary school.

Nationwide on Black Friday, the FBI conducted 185,345 firearms background checks, the most ever during a single day. The previous record nationwide was also Dec. 21, 2012.

Brian Rafn, who follows the gun industry as director of research at Morgan Dempsey Capital Management in Menomonee Falls, said the industry has grown 20 percent annually for the last three or four years. He said firearm sales increase every time President Barack Obama or another politician calls for tighter restrictions on guns.

Rafn said fears over domestic terrorist attacks also play a role in increased gun sales. He said the annual sales pace is unsustainable and is likely to slow down, but that it’s hard to predict where the market is headed with so many variables, including the health of the economy.

The state Department of Justice says there are nearly 272,000 concealed carry permits in Wisconsin. The state had issued 35,294 concealed carry permits this year as of Nov. 29, up from 33,641 at the same point a year earlier, Schwartz said.

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