Number of gun buyers in Fla. steadily increasing

Published On: Jan 30 2013 01:03:33 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 02 2013 04:49:35 PM EST
Gun buyers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

The number of people seeking to buy guns is steadily increasing, from just less than 300,000 in 2004 to just shy of 800,000 in 2012.

Florida set a record in the number of gun purchases in 2012, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement ran more than 797,000 background checks, a 31-percent increase from the year before.

Gun dealer Stephen Shea, of Kevin's Guns and Sporting Goods, has never seen anything like the last year.

"It was a rush, a mad rush," Shea said. "It happened really quickly. I'm sure it's not quite over yet, but you know, it's something I haven't seen in my time."

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest gun-buying day in Florida, but this year it didn't end there.

Black Friday set a record for gun sales in Florida. Then that record was broken the Saturday after the Connecticut shootings, and that record went on to be broken five more times before the end of the year.

Florida was just 2,230 background checks short of 800,000 last year.

"Well, it's probably two reasons. No. 1, people are afraid of gun bans. They are afraid of this administration, and they want guns for protection. So those are the two driving forces, I believe," said Marion Hammer, of Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

December saw 131,000 people purchasing guns. That's a 77-percent increase from December 2011.

More than 22,000 background checks were run between Christmas and New Year's, suggesting the trend is not abating.

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