Floridians are snapping up guns at a record pace.
Each day since the tragic Sandy Hook school shootings except last Sunday has seen a record for the number of background checks being made in Florida.
“Typically our two highest volume days are Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas,” said Gretl Plessinger, of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The latest data available on Wednesday shows 8,250 people underwent background checks. In fact, the number of background checks, according to the data have increased steadily over the past week.
Floridians are on track to buy 750,000 guns this year. That’s 100,000 more than last year.
Gun dealer Mark Folmar said the people buying guns from him are not reacting to the shootings.
“Most of the guns we’ve sold this Christmas season have been guns that people had planned to buy anyway,” said Folmar.
Florida State University Criminologist Gary Kleck said he agrees.
“They were gonna get them eventually," said Kleck.
Kleck said rather than focus on the Connecticut tragedy, policy makers should look at violent deaths overall.
“Because 99 percent of the homicides in America are not mass shootings," said Kleck.
One way to do that, Kleck said, is to do a better job of screening someone’s mental health.
“We have wildly incomplete mental health records; records that would establish that a person has been declared by a court of law to be dangerous to themselves and others," he said. "And yet, the guy doing the background check is not likely to have access to the vast majority of those records.”
It is illegal for someone with mental health problems to purchase a gun in Florida, but without adequate background checks or mental health services, the law is meaningless.