TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The gift of a gun may be high on many Floridians’ holiday shopping lists.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it is on target to conduct nearly 1 million background checks this year on private firearm purchases. The projection comes as the department is reporting a record number of reviews conducted over the Thanksgiving weekend that typically kicks off the year-end holiday shopping season.
We have definitely seen an increase in the number of background checks over the past several years,” FDLE spokeswoman Samantha Andrews said Monday.
“You can see November and December are relatively larger” for sales.
Andrews declined to speculate on the reason for the increase and said the checks are only conducted on the individuals making purchases.
National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer said that in addition to buying firearms as gifts, guns sales have grown due to the improved economy and an effort by merchants to move stock by offering enticing holiday sales.
“I think it’s a combination of people wanting to take advantage of sales as well as the gift giving,” Hammer said. “The retailers I talked to … they feel the economy may be starting to recover, or people are relaxing a little more, and are starting to turn loose some of the money they were reluctant to spend. And it’s that time of year.”