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    Fewer gun buyers in mass shooting states

    Background checks for sales, permits climb

    Ron Moon (right) is co-owner of CJI Guns in Tucker, Ga. The number of background checks in the state has spiked.
    Erik S. Lesser/EPA
    Ron Moon (right) is co-owner of CJI Guns in Tucker, Ga. The number of background checks in the state has spiked.

    WASHINGTON — People who lived in the two states that saw the most deadly US mass shootings in 2012 were less enthusiastic about buying new guns at the end of the year than those in most other states, according to an analysis of FBI data.

    The latest government figures also reflect huge increases in the number of background checks for gun sales and permits to carry guns at the end of the year.

    After President Obama’s reelection in November, the school shooting in Connecticut last month, and Obama’s promise to support new laws aimed at curbing gun violence, the number of background checks spiked, especially in the South and West.


    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.

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    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.

    Background checks typically spike during the holiday shopping season, and some of the increases in the most recent FBI numbers can be attributed to that. But the number of background checks also tends to increase after mass shootings, when gun enthusiasts fear restrictive measures are imminent.

    ‘‘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 students were shot to death 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 his store was sold out.


    The government’s figures suggested far less interest in purchasing guns in Connecticut and Colorado, where 12 people were shot to death in a movie theater. Background checks in those two states increased but not nearly as much.

    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.