Background Checks For Firearms Purchases Hit New Records In 2011

Millions of Americans added weapons to their wish lists this past year.

Background checks on people wanting to buy guns hit new record numbers in November and December across the country.

Background checks also increased here in Texas.

Guns and Texas may go hand in hand, but the Lone Star State's love for firearms appears to be catching on in other parts of the country too.

New FBI statistics show November 2011 set a new all-time month record of 1,534,414 background checks by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; NICS.

"We talk guns we talk politics we talk cows, whatever it's basically an everyday occurrence," said William L. Smith, a College Station gun owner.

William Smith comes to Burdett & Son Outdoor Adventure Shop in College Station on a daily basis and has been a gun owner most of his life.

"That's a hard question to answer. There's definitely got to be a reason why so many people right before Christmas decided I want to buy a gun," said Smith.

While it's unknown exactly how many guns were sold, 2011 appears to have been a good year. Two days before Christmas 102,222 background checks were performed coast to coast, the second busiest day ever on record.

Garrett House is the Sales Manager at Champion Firearms in College Station and like his counterparts at Burdett & Son, said 2011 was a good year, but not really out of the ordinary.

He tells us concealed handgun holders in Texas aren't required to fill out the background checks, which may skew some of the numbers here.

"As the economy continues to go down and at least the appearance that crime continues to go up people are looking for ways to defend themselves they want that ability to protect their family," House said.

"It kind of sounds like people are kind of worried about the election even though it's a ways off and you know I have no idea," said Smith.

For whatever reason it's a business that continues to be booming.

Texas came in second place for most checks in 2011 with 1,000,905 being performed between January and November.

Kentucky for the second year in a row had the most with a staggering 2,067,187.

According to the FBI only 1.3 percent of background check searches result in someone not being able to purchase a weapon. The searches which can be performed over the phone or by computer can take as quick as a minute to verify.


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