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Friday, January 4, 2013

Virginia Has Largest Year to Year Rise in Firearms Sales in 20 Years

The Richmond Times Dispatch (RTD) reports that Virginia set a record in firearm sales in 2012.
Virginia gun sales soared to a new high in 2012, fueled in part by the repeal of the state’s one-handgun-per-month law and fears of increased gun restrictions after December’s school massacre in Connecticut.
Gun transactions in Virginia totaled 432,387 last year, a 35 percent jump from the 321,166 transactions in 2011, according to the latest Virginia State Police figures of mandatory criminal-background checks of gun buyers.
The RTD notes that this represents the largest year-to-year increase in 20 years and the third-largest increase overall since 1989 when Virginia’s background check program was implemented.  The RTD also noted that Virginia's sales outpaced the nation as a whole.  According to FBI NICS data, a record 19.6 million transactions were conducted in the U.S. last year through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, up from 16.4 million in 2011 — a 20 percent rise.

The above data is based on background checks for 2012.  There is not a one-to-one correlation between background checks and the number of fireams sold because some customers buy multiple firearms and some of the checks involve people reclaiming a firearm they previously had pawned. There is also a small percentage of background checks in Virginia that are denied approval to buy a firearm.

The RTD reports that firearm transaction data obtained from Virginia State Police provides a more accurate picture of how many firearms are sold in Virginia by federally licensed firearms dealers. In 2011, firearm dealers sold an estimated 420,829 firearms of all types in Virginia based on 321,166 background checks, according to the state police data.  The transaction data for 2012 is not yet available.

The RTD did an indepth report on Virginia firearms sales during Thanksgiving weekend that showed over a six year period, firearm sales increased over 70% while crime decreased by over 20%.

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