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Oklahoma City gun retailers report surge in sales

The number of people buying guns, particularly military-style AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, is higher now than it's ever been, Oklahoma City store owners say.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: December 28, 2012

At H&H Shooting Sports Complex and similar stores, display cases that once were full of military-style rifles are empty.

An FBI system for doing criminal background checks on prospective gun buyers is busier than ever.

Public interest in purchasing guns appears sky-high.

Some people are concerned about tighter gun regulations in 2013, and others feel they need to be armed against the kind of people responsible for highly publicized mass shootings, said Miles Hall, president and founder of H&H.

“The largest gun sales in the history of the industry are happening,” Hall said. “With everything we're hearing, December's numbers will be off the charts.”

H&H sold 2,000 military-style rifles in two days, Hall said.

The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System was used to check prospective gun buyers more than 2 million times in November, the highest in the 14-year history of the system. While it does not represent the actual number of firearms sold, the number is a gauge of public interest in purchasing guns.

The system, referred to as NICS, checks a person's criminal background to determine eligibility to buy a gun through a licensed firearms dealer.

“Since Black Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, the FBI NICS section has experienced an equivalent of five Black Fridays (more than 155,000 transactions each day),” officials said in correspondence with email-list members.

Hall said sales were already high before the Newtown, Conn., shootings, but talk of stricter gun restrictions has driven traffic even more.

“We sold more guns last Tuesday than we would in an average month,” Hall said. “Wednesday was double that.”

Since the Newtown tragedy, some lawmakers have called for increased firearms restrictions, including the renewal of the federal assault weapons ban that restricted the manufacture, sale and possession of certain semi-automatic weapons. The ban was passed in September 1994 and expired in March 2004.

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