This will either make American feel more secure – or much more nervous about their safety. According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested in December alone by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Almost a third of those were requested in the six days leading up to Christmas.
Sky High Requests
This was the highest number that was ever requested in one single month. And, of course, the actual number of guns purchased could have been even higher if each of those customers purchased more than one firearm.
Explanations for Surge
Why the sudden surge in gun purchases and requests? Some say that buyers are worried that the government will soon be tightening firearm laws, making people want to make their purchases now. There has been a call for this type of reform after the near-fatal shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona last January.
Others say that the economic issues in America make people fear a surge in crime. The NRA, putting in its opinion, said that people want to protect themselves as the number of police officers on the beat has been steadily declining.
As NRA spokesperson said,
“I think there’s an increased realization that when something bad occurs it’s going to be between them and the criminal.”
Anti-gun campaigners say that there really isn’t an upsurge in new people owning guns; rather, they say, those who already own weapons are just buying more and more. As the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence spokeswoman said,
“The research we’ve seen indicates fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns.”