Gun background checks dive by 10.5%

Demand for weapons waned in January after the Newtown shootings, but it's still higher than in much of 2012.

By Jason Notte Feb 5, 2013 2:46PM
Credit: Steve Marcus / Reuters
Caption: A man looks at Mossberg shotgun during the annual SHOT Show in Las VegasIt looks like the nation's run on guns has slowed to a jog.

After background checks for gun purchases peaked at a record 2.78 million in December, the Associated Press found Tuesday that demand across the National Instant Criminal Background Check system decreased 10.5% to 2.48 million in January. That's still the second-highest number of requests ever and higher than the totals in all but one month in 2012.

That said, Americans are still buying up a whole lot of guns in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school killings and the national gun control debate they prompted. Wal-Mart (WMT) and Bass Pro Shops have limited sales of ammunition at their stores amid increased demand, leaving local law enforcement divisions low on rounds as a result.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have issued proposals to make gun trafficking a federal crime, restrict high-capacity magazines and require background checks for gun shows and private transactions. While Slate has attacked the National Rife Association's opposition to the latter measure, the Daily News reports that universal background checks have overwhelming public support.

Even Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority leader, told CNN on Tuesday that he firmly supports extensive background checks similar to those implemented in his home state of Virginia following the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech that killed 32 people and wounded 17 others. That model linked mental health information to gun databases, which addresses concerns about mental health voiced by gun-rights advocates throughout the recent debate.

Still, Associated Press numbers indicate that gun panic is dissipating a lot more quickly in some states than in others. In Iowa, background checks actually rose 24% in January. Other upticks were reported in Hawaii (12.2%), Massachusetts (10%), Michigan (2.4%), Minnesota (14.9%), New Hampshire (4.4%), New Jersey (10.6%), Pennsylvania (1.8%) and Wisconsin (2.6%). Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, meanwhile, all stocked up enough to reduce background checks by roughly a third in each state.

With President Barack Obama pushing for a ban on semi-automatic rifles modeled after military weapons and an updated version of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, demand for guns and ammo may remain high for much of 2013. If January is any indication, however, even the most concerned gun owners tend to buy on a budget.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 5, 2013 3:36PM

I hope Slate is in favor of having the SAME rules for exercising ones right to Vote, to an Abortion, or Free Speech...

We need ID's and background checks on voters too!   Not just those exercising their 2nd Amendment rights...  We will need the SAME requirements on the Press....
Feb 5, 2013 3:40PM

And maybe we would not be experiencing an ammo shortage if the government stops buying millions of rounds a month.   They must think things are going to get awfully bad here to need that much ammo....  and 7,000 real assault rifles (full auto) for government officials...

They're diving because the gun stores are empty and cant' get inventory fast enough.
Feb 5, 2013 3:33PM
I can believe this...  Have you been to most gun shops lately?  They don't have any guns, magazines, ammo, etc to sell...  They take your name and add you a waiting list.

Go ahead and try  to buy a gun...  Ask what they have in stock...  Ruger is a good example, they have basically sold all of 2013's gun production already....
Feb 5, 2013 4:31PM

NRA opposes the background checks because only law abiding citizens undergo them making them ineffective for crime control.  Criminals have other sources.  Checks have dropped off because dealers are out of guns and/or most people who want to purchase have already done so. I'll be glad when the supply catches up so I can buy another AR and plenty of ammo for when Obama finally gets his ways.


Feb 5, 2013 4:33PM

Just what we need the government telling us who is sane and who is not.

Look at Congress first.

Feb 5, 2013 4:39PM

The only reason background checks were reduced in January is the gun merchants ran out of guns.

They (background checks) should pickup after the gun merchants restock.


Feb 5, 2013 4:56PM
If gun trafficking becomes a federal crime we'll have to arrest the AG for fast and furious.  Right Slate?
Feb 5, 2013 4:55PM

2-1/2 Million checks in Jan. that's a Dive?  More Liberal Crappola from the Left Wing Media !


How about the Fearless leader asking Congress to Prosecute the 1.2 Milloin People who failed their BGC which is punishable by going to Prison. Ooops, does that mean Eric the Bungler Holder would go to Prison for Fast and Furious? He failed to register any of those weapons( 2,000 )  and never did a background check on the Mexicans ( Illegals) that he Sold the "ASSault Weapons to !!! By the way does Mr. Holder have a FFL to legaly sell those Firearms? I don't think so. Any one ever hear of "HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMANORS" as the avenue of IMPEACHMENT ! The Idiots in Congress playing their usual Political Games looking to get fat and re elected ! They all deserve a Special Place in Hell !

Feb 5, 2013 4:40PM

If Obama,"Feinsteen" and "Cumo" [as Jesse Jackson calls him] will make ALL of the CRYPS & BLOODS get a background check, then I will get one. Otherwise, shut the hell up about it!

Also, talking about banning so-called "assault weapons" is a load of crap! Nobody [the nuts] uses these fancy hunting rifles, to do mass-murders. You can use a broomstick as an "assault weapon" or a rock, or a hammer, or an axe, etc.,etc.

Feb 5, 2013 4:58PM
Arming yourself is a constitutional privelege.  Taking guns away is the act of a despot.  With all the criminals allowed to walk the street by our Leftist Courts system, everyone should take steps to arm themselves before the U S government, led by Leftist Obama, takes that right away too.
Feb 5, 2013 5:14PM
You don't need to prove you are a citizen to vote but you do to buy a gun?
Feb 5, 2013 4:54PM

I hope you anti-gun citizens have your pepper spray ready!


Of course they deleted my link to the article about the government white papers attempting to validate the governments ability to have vague boundaries for targeted killing by drone of US citizens here at home.

Feb 5, 2013 4:56PM
Well....there are much fewer firearms left to buy.  Suppliers have simply not caught up with the explosive demand and shelves are picked clean in many areas.  With nothing to buy of course background checks are down.
Feb 5, 2013 4:51PM
That's some funny ****. If you're running full bore at record speed and you slow down 10%, you ain't joggin'! Whatever makes them feel better. I'm still having a tough time gathering ammo. :)
Feb 5, 2013 5:07PM
Only on MSN does the second highest number ever experienced  constitute "diving.'
Feb 5, 2013 5:03PM
Did they happen to think maybe it's because there is now a shortage of guns?? Go to any online site and dealers are sold out. LOL!
Feb 5, 2013 5:34PM
I'm having a good laugh at seeing the two guys frantically running through all the posts here to hit the thumbs down button, just so there seems to be at least a little opposition to all the pro-gun views. Yeeha!  :D
Feb 5, 2013 5:27PM
When is the government or the press going to go public with the fact that the punk in school shooting DID NOT use the assault weapon. I suppose about the same time they come clean that Obama was photo shopped shooting the shotgun. He wouldn't know which end to hold. And yes it's a well known fact that the government  is stock piling ammunition, and a lot of it.
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