AT A GLANCE
Fewer background checks
were requested in January
The number of criminal background checks requested by Oklahoma gun shops declined in January after shattering the record the month before.
The 48,246 background checks requested last month is a15 percent drop from the record-setting total in December, but it still represents the second-largest total in state history.
In December, the FBI performed a record 60,731 background checks on potential gun buyers in Oklahoma.
In 2012, the number of background checks reached nearly 370,000 and set a state record.
According to records kept by the FBI, the 367,976 background checks requested by store owners last year topped the previous record — set in 2011 — by nearly 100,000.
Gun shop owners say background check statistics don't necessarily reflect actual sales as much as they gauge public interest in purchasing a firearm.
“Some people have their application rejected or may change their mind or whatever, but those numbers show you how many people are at least considering buying a gun,” said Darren Burger, co-owner of Choctaw gun store Locked and Loaded.
Until their numbers exploded in 2012, background checks performed on potential Oklahoma gun buyers had experienced slow, steady growth since they began in 1998, records indicate.
Last year's figures grew so much they nearly doubled the number of checks performed just five years earlier, in 2007.
Background check statistics in Oklahoma mirrored the national trend, FBI records show.
Andrew Knittle, Staff Writer