Firearm Purchases Soar In U.S. Ahead Of Biden’s Report
As lawmakers continue to discuss way to counter gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting tragedy, firearm sales are spiking nationwide as people rush to purchase guns and ammo before any restrictions on such sales are imposed.
The New York Times reported a record number of criminal background checks were performed in December due to gun purchases—a strong indication of an increase in sales, according analysis of federal data by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The group reported 2.2 million background checks were performed directly related to firearm sales in December—a 58.6 percent increase from the same period in 2011.
Vice President Joe Biden has led a task force that is addressing a number of topics on gun policy ranging from the availability of certain types of firearms and ammunition to data collection between federal and state law enforcement agencies. Biden said a top priority is to create a more thorough system of background checks to prevent those with criminal histories or mental illness form purchasing weapons. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 40 percent of gun sales are made without background checks.
“So far,” Biden told reporters on Thursday, there has been “a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks. Not just closing the gun show loophole, but have total universal background checks including in private sales.”
Biden is “shooting for Tuesday” to make the task force’s recommendations to President Obama, no pun intended.
Gun sales had risen even before the increased focus following Sandy Hook—many manufacturers expected an increase following President Obama’s November re-election.
“We believe the continued economic uncertainty and the outcome of the 2012 presidential election is likely to continue to spur both firearms and ammunition sales,” the Freedom Group, which owns Bushmaster, the company that makes the rifle used in Newtown, wrote in a financial report on the quarter that ended Sept. 30.
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