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Firearms dealers say Feds stopped them from selling guns to Christmas shoppers

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PORT ALLEN- This past weekend was supposed to be one of the most profitable for Scott Roe, the owner of Spillway Sportsman off Highway 1.

"Firearms sales are a huge push this time of year," Roe said.

However, many of his Christmas shoppers left empty-handed because Roe could not perform the federally required background checks. He said the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was inaccessible.

"It was shut down completely, nothing worked," Roe said.

It was the same problem across the river for Jim McClain, president of Jim's Firearms in Baton Rouge.

"The online system went down, and then their phone system went down," McClain said.

The two dealers estimate the system crash cost them $70,000 combined. They said it's been a recurring problem the weekend before Christmas for a few years now.

"When the government can effectively shut you down, it's scary," McClain said.

The FBI acknowledged an issue occurred on its NICS website. WBRZ contacted a number of gun stores across the state. Dealers said the system crashes every year before Christmas, probably because of a large number of background checks being conducted.

Roe and McClain said it doesn't make sense for it to crash this past weekend when it didn't on Black Friday in November. Reportedly on that day the most background checks ever were processed through NICS and the system didn't crash.

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