Big jump in December background checks for firearm purchases

posted at 10:31 am on January 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

All of the talk in December about pursuing gun-control legislation had a big impact on the firearms industry — only perhaps not the impact intended by gun-control advocates.  The FBI reported yesterday that background checks for firearms purchases rose 40% over November to 2.8 million, almost a million more than the previous December:

The FBI reported a record-high number of background checks for firearms purchases in the month of December, in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

According to a report from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System out Wednesday, there were about 2.8 million background checks on those seeking to purchase firearms last month. That total was 2 million the previous month, and 1.9 million in December of 2011, news accounts noted.

Fox pointed out that this was a 49% increase from last December, which means that this wasn’t a Christmas retail season issue.  People got motivated to buy themselves a firearm, and it’s not difficult to figure out why.  The proposals on the table for gun control would necessarily grandfather existing firearms owned, and gun owners want to make sure they beat the deadline — just in case.

Take a look at the FBI stats in the report, too.  Some of the states with the biggest numbers of background checks come as no surprise: Texas and Kentucky, for example, are big gun-rights states.  Some others are more surprising, though, and point out the political risk for politicians attempting to pursue gun control.  Illinois makes it nearly impossible to carry a gun and nearly as difficult to own one, but requests for background checks jumped 22% to over 112,000.  There are few states as liberal as California these days, but background checks increased more than 32% to 150,805 in December.  Florida is a swing state, and saw background requests jump 52% to 134,345.  Even in solidly blue Pennsylvania, bitter clingers pushed background-check requests up 33% to 133,241.

Nor does gun control seem to have the same cachet as it did a couple of weeks ago, at least not on social media.  Dylan Byers reports that interest in the subject didn’t “survive Christmas”:

On the day of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we published a chart showing the Sisyphean nature of the national gun control discussion. In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colo., mentions of the term “gun control” spike in the news media. In a matter of days, that discussion all but disappears. …

Blame it on the fiscal cliff, blame it on Christmas, blame it on our ability to forget, but the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed. Mentions of the term “gun control” on television, in newspapers, and in online media are down to pre-Sandy Hook levels, according to the Nexis database.

As Dylan notes in an update, screening out references to Piers Morgan and David Gregory makes the trend even more pronounced.  Speaking of whom, Gregory’s former colleague David Shuster wants Gregory to apologize for his magazine stunt before police take the case to its legal conclusion, and scolds Meet the Press for its silence:

None the less, Washington, D.C. police are now stuck. If they let David Gregory off without getting any acknowledgment from him that he made a mistake, police will be throwing “equal justice under the law” out the window. After all, would an African-American in Southeast D.C. who violated a gun law — and wouldn’t acknowledge it — get a break? Of course not.

And yet, each day the Gregory investigation continues, D.C. police are wasting more precious resources and time.

I appreciate that NBC counsel have apparently urged David Gregory, his staff, and all executives not to say anything while the investigation continues. But in this case, the narrow interests of a company lawyer undercut the ethical obligations of Meet the Press to journalism and the city of Washington, D.C.

There is nothing that prevents David Gregory from showing some respect to those institutions right now by saying something like, “I am sorry that my actions have caused a police investigation. My team and I will cooperate fully with D.C. police and do whatever we can to help resolve this matter.”

For now, however, David Gregory and NBC News offer only silence and “no comment.”

This is unfortunate and hypocritical. Not taking responsibility is what Gregory himself accused the Obama White House of doing in October over Benghazi. Gregory said at the time, “the buck stops with the White House and the president on these matters.”

Well, either a so-called “high-capacity magazine” is dangerous on its own, or it’s not.  And in fact, it’s only dangerous when the owner intends to use it in a dangerous manner.  That’s the reason that Gregory’s journalistic colleagues are aghast that anyone would prosecute him merely for possessing it (and brandishing it on TV) — it’s because it clearly isn’t dangerous in and of itself, not in Gregory’s hands or in the hands of any other law-abiding gun owner.  Gregory’s stunt exposed the falsity of the underlying premise of the law, which is probably what Gregory and NBC will have to argue if police bring charges against him — a somewhat ironic end to his stunt.

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The Great New Year Stampede
Americans can’t trust the government not to infringe on their traditional freedoms.

Gun stores are swamped with panicking customers. They are looking for handguns, semiautomatic rifles, and as much ammunition as they can afford. But buyers are not just camouflaged hunters, conspiracy theorists, and gun hoarders. Instead, many of those purchasing firearms and ammo are so-called ordinary people, convinced that this administration will soon begin to centrally register — and then ban — far more than assault rifles.

Colbyjack on January 3, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Posted elsewhere:

Why doesn’t the Oppressive Left care about protecting the Children?

What is it about the Gun-grabbing ghouls and their BSMedia minions with protecting themselves and not our precious offspring? They lost their collective cookies over the mere suggestion that armed police offices keep kids safe.

In part it could be their Dracula like aversion to guns in the hands of individuals not of their security details. But you have to ask yourself why is the oppressive left so adamant about not protecting the Children?

Ask yourself – why would they be against a proven security measure they employ for themselves?

We might as well just come right out and say it: They don’t want the children protected because they want more massacres.

They WANT to see wall to wall coverage of dead bodies and screaming parents. The WANT to see days of coverage as the BSMedia milks ever last bit of agony from these Serious Crisis that they see as prime opportunities to further their destruction of the Constitution.

Just look at how they almost can’t hide their giddiness over the news of these massacres.

Look at how they can’t wait to seize upon these “Crisis” with declarations about how other innocent gun owners are somehow guilty of the crime just because they exercise their God-given and Constitutionally affirmed right of self defense.

They recently put in place legislation to further restrict our rights – taking the advantage of the deaths of young children to enhance their power grabbing agenda. Problem is, the emotional groundswell from Sandy Hook has subsided so they can’t “Use” it as a means to deprive the innocent of their right of self-defense.

Now, like the death vultures that they are, they are just waiting for their next “opportunity”. They’re patiently waiting for the first repots of a shooting in school or some other ‘Gun-Free’ zone to spring into action.

But now, someone comes along and makes the very practical suggestion of protecting the children and they go Ballistic. They cannot abide this because it would reduce the chances of another death opportunity for them.

Armed officers would take away what they see as ‘collateral’ damage {dead children} in their quest for a disarmed and pacified socialist national utopia.

So why doesn’t everyone ask the gun grabbing ghouls of the Oppressive Left why they don’t want the children protected?

Colbyjack on January 3, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Big jump in December background checks for firearm purchases

…everyone is shocked by that!

KOOLAID2 on January 3, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Not interested in any apology. Enforce the law.

Arrest him forthwith and let him pay a $1000.00 fine and spend a year in stir. There’s plenty of evidence to secure a conviction.

mojo on January 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

We need more bare arms…/

PatriotRider on January 3, 2013 at 4:54 PM

…the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed. …screening out references to Piers Morgan and David Gregory makes the trend even more pronounced.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha … well their collective half-hour of fame is up.

As for Gregory, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law just as anyone else would be–no “journalist” exception.

stukinIL4now on January 3, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Big jump in December background checks for firearm purchases


James on January 3, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Meh. The requests for background may be way up, but I’d like to see a crosswalk to the number of guns sold. More specifically, an estimate of how many weapons “exchanged ” hands. I wouldn’t doubt that for every new gun sold, another 3 or four exchanged hands by bartering and /or private sales.

Truth is that we’ll never know and that’s how it should be – leave the govt guessing as to just how many are out there and operational. LOL.

AH_C on January 4, 2013 at 12:47 AM

Thank you president Obama /crrr6

AH_C on January 4, 2013 at 12:48 AM

And yet, each day the Gregory investigation continues, D.C. police are wasting more precious resources and time.

The police are not wasting their time anymore than the Wendy’s chef is wasting his time cooking patties. It’s what they get paid for.

bbhack on January 4, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Gregory would be the first guy calling for prosecution if a black kid had, in his hand, that magazine…

right2bright on January 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

He doesn’t have to apologize. He’s already punished with those facial pock marks he has to carry to carry for the rest of his life.

RdLake on January 5, 2013 at 10:29 PM