Washington: American Christmas shoppers are
purchasing record numbers of guns, according to the latest FBI
figures on mandatory background checks required to buy
The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that the
number of background checks has already topped the previous
one-month record -- set only in November -- of 1,534,414
inquiries by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal
Background Check System also known as NICS.
Almost half a million checks were done in just the last
six days before Christmas.
On December 23, two days before Christmas, NICS ran
102,222 background checks, which was the second-busiest day in
history, the news channel reporetd.
The one-day record was set this year on Black Friday, the
big shopping day following Thanksgiving, with 129,166
searches. By comparison, the previous one-day high was set
November 28, 2008, when gun dealers made slightly less than
98,000 requests for background searches.
It`s not possible to tell exactly how many guns have been
purchased because buyers often take home more than one gun.
But most people pass the background checks. Only 1.3 per cent
of the searches result in people being denied permission to
buy a weapon, FBI spokesman Steve Fischer said.
FBI officials did not offer a theory on the spike in gun
sales. It is also not clear how many of the background checks
were for people who never had owned guns before and how many
were for gun-owners adding to their collections.
The US National Rifle Association (NRA) says the figures
indicate more people feel they need guns for self defense.
"I think there`s an increased realisation that when
something bad occurs, it`s going to be between them and the
criminal," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.
Arulandandum said Americans realise police cannot be
everywhere there`s trouble and also that some officers are
being laid off due to budget cutting.
The NRA spokesman also said an increased number of
Americans are participating in skeet shooting and other gun
However, a leading gun-control organisation says repeat
buyers most likely are responsible for the holiday surge in
"The research we`ve seen indicates fewer and fewer people
are owning more and more guns," said Caroline Brewer of the
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "All the trends
indicate the number of Americans who own guns has declined."