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Gun background checks drop by 10 percent in January
First Published Feb 05 2013 11:30 am • Last Updated Feb 05 2013 11:42 am

WASHINGTON • The number of federal background checks for firearm sales declined last month following a surge in gun sales toward the end of the year that’s left many retailers out of stock as Washington considered new gun control measures.

An Associated Press analysis of new FBI data published early Tuesday shows the National Instant Criminal Background Check system processed more than 2.78 million checks in December. That was a 12-month peak following an upward trend through last fall. The number fell to 2.48 million in January, still greater than any other month last year.

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NRA changes stance on background checks

The country’s most powerful gun rights lobbying group has reversed its decade-old stance on requiring instant background checks for people buying guns at gun shows.

“We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show,” Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said in 1999 after the Columbine High School shooting in suburban Denver. “No loopholes anywhere for anyone.”

But now, LaPierre says gun laws requiring background checks are ineffective at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

“I do not believe the way the law is working now, unfortunately, that it does any good to extend the law to private sales between hobbyists and collectors,” LaPierre told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

LaPierre said the government needs to prosecute more people who try to illegally buy guns from licensed dealers. Without better enforcement of existing laws, he said, more background checks would only be a burden on law-abiding gun buyers.

LaPierre has also suggested that an expansion of background checks would lead to a national registry of gun owners.

— The Associated Press

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Firearms sales exploded around the country in the wake of the deadly December shooting spree in Newton, Conn., that left 27 dead, mostly children. The rush to buy guns has left many retailers out of stock.

"You can’t do a background check if a guy doesn’t have a gun to buy," said Mike Fotia, manager at Duke’s Sport Shop in New Castle, Pa. "There’s nothing to buy."

Fotia said manufacturers and wholesalers can’t fill orders right now because demand is so high.

The number of background checks does not represent the number of firearms purchased, but gun manufacturers use these statistics to measure the health of the gun industry in the U.S.

The 10 percent drop between December and January comes amid a fierce national debate on gun control after the horrific school shooting in Newtown. The number of background checks dropped 26 percent during the same time period a year earlier. Sales typically decrease in January after the holiday shopping rush is over.

Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi saw the largest declines in background checks from December to January, by about one-third.


Gun background checks drop 10 percent last month

These figures published online Tuesday by the FBI show the number of federal background checks for firearms sales in each state sorted alphabetically between October and January, with the total percentage change in the number of checks conducted between December and January. The nationwide totals for each month also include figures for background checks in Guam, the Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which are not individually shown in this list.

The raw FBI figures can be downloaded here: http://1.usa.gov/12qmop9

STATE »     OCT-’12      NOV-’12      DEC-’12      JAN-’13  Prcnt Chg

Alabama »       32,850        52,221        80,576        55,210        -31.5%

Alaska »         8,503          8,131        12,438          9,975        -19.8%

Arizona »       24,336        34,003        48,795        41,443        -15.1%

Arkansas »       22,743        29,298        38,830        29,607        -23.8%

California »       89,164      113,832      150,805      133,187        -11.7%

Colorado »       35,009        46,192        53,453        53,121          -0.6%

Connecticut »       18,761        22,547        29,246        31,886            9.0%

District of Columbia »             53                41                51                59          15.7%

Delaware  »       2,512          3,681          5,626          5,055        -10.1%

Florida  »     64,782        88,114      134,345      117,696        -12.4%

Georgia  »     37,586        47,507        78,998        70,862        -10.3%

Hawaii »         1,569          1,622          2,014          2,260          12.2%

Idaho  »     11,157        13,395        20,555        17,708        -13.9%

Illinois   »     78,049        91,889      112,141      149,608          33.4%

Indiana  »     38,305        48,477        71,348        61,855        -13.3%

Iowa  »     12,012        16,155        19,407        24,157          24.5%

Kansas  »     16,551        24,748        35,545        29,270        -17.7%

Kentucky  »   220,986      219,921      260,207      238,510          -8.3%

Louisiana   »     29,102        38,584        59,697        42,313        -29.1%

Maine  »       9,748          9,094        12,416        10,538        -15.1%

Maryland   »     11,640        17,048        19,172        18,392          -4.1%

Massachusetts   »     19,062        21,166        25,251        27,785          10.0%

Michigan  »     37,464        45,249        59,445        60,852            2.4%

Minnesota  »     43,310        40,168        55,917        64,272          14.9%

Mississippi  »     18,935        30,272        42,176        26,380        -37.5%

Missouri  »     44,157        55,571        81,243        71,515        -12.0%

Montana  »     13,036        11,728        18,562        15,217        -18.0%

Nebraska  »       7,814        10,418        15,406        14,751          -4.3%

Nevada  »     11,057        14,611        22,420        18,361        -18.1%

New Hampshire  »     10,591        12,223        19,647        20,513            4.4%

New Jersey  »       6,791          8,910        10,047        11,110          10.6%

New Mexico   »     11,675        14,271        21,537        16,998        -21.1%

New York  »     30,294        38,150        48,320        43,752          -9.5%

North Carolina   »     40,956        53,692        74,023        70,301          -5.0%

North Dakota   »       9,138          7,637        10,989          9,686        -11.9%

Ohio  »     49,510        74,534      102,531        83,996        -18.1%

Oklahoma  »     28,960        43,759        60,731        48,246        -20.6%

Oregon  »     19,989        27,133        44,246        33,335        -24.7%

Pennsylvania  »     79,821        99,829      133,241      135,603            1.8%

Rhode Island   »       1,897          2,478          3,870          3,792          -2.0%

South Carolina  »     23,632        30,131        43,132        36,801        -14.7%

South Dakota  »       9,893        10,114        14,789        11,242        -24.0%

Tennessee   »     40,032        59,840        91,922        69,456        -24.4%

Texas  »   112,530      149,821      239,956      186,890        -22.1%

Utah  »     20,048        23,859        32,908        27,938        -15.1%

Vermont   »       3,152          3,191          4,845          4,195        -13.4%

Virginia  »     35,342        52,416        77,487        60,837        -21.5%

Washington   »     43,051        50,452        74,447        73,547          -1.2%

West Virginia  »     19,662        26,830        34,030        26,793        -21.3%

Wisconsin  »     41,069        44,890        55,533        56,977            2.6%

Wyoming  »       5,011          6,482          9,876          7,861        -20.4%

Total U.S. » 1,604,743  1,997,703  2,776,105  2,483,230        -10.5%



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