FBI Swamped With Gun Background Checks on Black Friday

The agency processed a record 185,345 firearm background checks in 24 hours.

The agency processed a record 185,345 firearm background checks during the big Nov. 27 shopping holiday, Stephen Fischer of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division told ABC News via email.

They amounted to roughly two background checks per second in Friday's 24 hours, marking a 5 percent increase from checks on Black Friday of 2014, Fischer said, declining to speculate on reasons for the increase. The number of background checks doesn't mean nearly 200,000 guns were sold, only that there were that number of potential gun buyers.

The previous high for a single day was 177,170 on Dec. 21, 2012, days after a shooting at an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, left 27 people, mostly children, dead.

FBI checks are conducted for possible gun purchases from federally licensed deals and for permits to carry guns. They are processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which reviews available records that could disqualify a person from carrying arms.

The FBI started processing background checks for potential gun owners in 1998 as part of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Just last year, the agency processed close to 21 million background checks; more than 220 million background checks have been conducted since the Brady Act came into effect.

November and December tend to see a spike in background checks, according to data from the FBI showing peak days from 1998 through 2013.