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Oklahomans still highly interested in guns, FBI records show

Even as the national gun debate has cooled in recent weeks, Oklahomans' interest in purchasing firearms remains high. In February, more than 40,000 background checks were requested by Oklahoma gun store owners, the third-highest total recorded by the FBI.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: March 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm •  Published: March 20, 2013
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Even as the national gun debate has cooled in recent weeks, Oklahomans' interest in purchasing firearms remains high.

In February, more than 40,000 background checks were requested by Oklahoma gun store owners, the third-highest total recorded by the FBI.

Gun shop owners say the background checks, while not necessarily indicative of total sales, can be used to gauge the public's interest in firearms during a particular month.

The high water mark in Oklahoma and the rest of the country came in December, the same month as the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and a month after President Barack Obama was elected to his second term in office.

A nationwide debate about gun control, sparked by the massacre of dozens of children and adults in Newtown, Conn., was raging at that point, dominating headlines.

In December, gun shop owners in Oklahoma requested 60,731 background checks, the most in the state since the FBI started tracking such statistics in late 1998.

The 43,984 checks requested by Oklahoma shop owners last month was the third-highest total in state history. Only January and December had more checks requested.

Last year set records for gun checks, both in Oklahoma and the rest of the country.

Supply issues

At Locked and Loaded gun shop in Choctaw, owner Melissa Burger said the background check statistics can be deceiving.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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