The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 7, 2013

Fewer excited gun-buyers in Colo. and Conn.

— WASHINGTON (AP) — In Connecticut and Colorado, scenes of the most deadly U.S. mass shootings in 2012, people were less enthusiastic about buying new guns at the end of the year than in most other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of new FBI data. The biggest surges in background checks for people who want to carry or buy guns occurred in states in the South and West.

The latest government figures reflect huge increases across the U.S. in the number of background checks for gun sales and permits to carry guns at the end of the year. After President Barack Obama's re-election, the horrific school shooting in Connecticut and Obama's promise to support new laws aimed at curbing gun violence, the number of background checks spiked. In Georgia, the FBI processed 37,586 requests during October and 78,998 requests in December; Alabama went from 32,850 to 80,576 during the same period.

Nationally, there were nearly twice as many more background checks for firearms between November and December than during the same time period one year ago.

"It's a fear there will be a crackdown," said Thomas Wright, who runs Hoover Tactical Firearms near Birmingham, Ala. Wright said he took on more employees to handle the sales crush after 20 children were killed in Newtown, Conn. "We used to have what was called our wall of guns. It's pretty much empty now." Every high-capacity magazine in Wright's store was sold out.

The government's figures suggested far less interest in purchasing guns late in the year in Connecticut and Colorado, where background checks also increased but not nearly as much as most other states. Twelve people died in July in a shooting at a Colorado movie theater. The numbers of checks in Colorado rose from 35,009 in October to 53,453 in December; checks in Connecticut went from 18,761 to 29,246 during the same period. Only New Jersey and Maryland showed smaller increases than Colorado in December from one month earlier.

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