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Gun background checks decline in January

Gun buyers lined up last month at a store in New Castle, Pa. Gun sales had surged after the Newtown shootings.

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Gun buyers lined up last month at a store in New Castle, Pa. Gun sales had surged after the Newtown shootings.

WASHINGTON — The number of federal background checks for firearms sales declined in the United States last month, as retailers continue to run out of guns to sell during a buying spree driven by Washington’s focus on gun control.

Background checks decreased 10 percent nationally between December and January, with large declines in the Southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia as well as Texas, according to an analysis of new FBI data published Tuesday.

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Firearms sales surged around the country after the December shooting spree in Newtown, Conn., in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a school.

There were more than 2.78 million checks in December. That was a 12-month peak following an upward trend through last fall. The number fell to 2.48 million in January, still a higher figure than any other month than December last year.

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