December marked highest gun sales ever
The 2011 holiday season wasn’t only a record sales year for electronics and apps. Records kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed that December, 2011, also marked an all-time high for sales of firearms.
Record number of background checks
According to the FBI, 1,534,414 inquiries were made by gun dealers to NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, in December. That’s the highest single monthly number ever.
Record setting month
That is not the only record set during the month. On Christmas Eve alone, 102,222 background checks were ordered. Next to 2011’s Black Friday, that is the largest daily total ever.
The largest day for NICS requests prior to this was Nov. 28, 2008, just before President Obama took office. On that day, just under 98,000 requests were made. Ungrounded fears that the new president would beef up gun control laws is generally believed to be the reason for that spike.
FBI officials would not speculate on possible reasons for the record gun sales. Caroline Brewer, of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, however, believes those dynamics are still at work. She said:
“It would appear because of fear-mongering by the NRA since Obama’s election that people are adding more guns to their arsenals out of fear Obama and the Democrats will take away their guns, which is absurd.”
No telling how many guns
Many buyers picked up more than one gun, so there is no telling how many new weapons are circulating. FBI spokesperson Steve Fischer said that only about 1.3 percent of those who apply for gun ownership background checks fail.
It is also unclear how many of the NICS searches were submitted for first-time gun owners. Brewer, however, believes that previous gun owners adding to their collections make up for the bulk of the spike. She said:
“The research we’ve seen indicates fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns. All the trends indicate the number of Americans who own guns has declined.”