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.
At Locked and Loaded gun shop in Choctaw, owner Melissa Burger said the background check statistics can be deceiving.
Burger said while the last three months have been historically busy for gun sellers, the high numbers may actually be deflated.
“It's product availability that's the issue right now,” she said. “You can't actually do a background check until you have (a gun) you are going to buy.
“As far as sales go, we haven't slowed down a bit. ... The traffic has, but that's because people are figuring out what we don't have.”
Burger said ammunition and so-called assault rifles remain very difficult to get, both at the local gun store and from the companies that manufacture them.
She said she has a waiting list for buyers interested in AR-15-style rifles.
“It's starting to loosen up a bit on those. We're starting to see a few of them from time to time,” Burger said of the rifles. “We have a list because we want to be fair to the people who've been waiting. We don't even put them on the shelf.”
During an interview with The Oklahoman last month, the owner of Big Boy's Guns & Ammo discussed the hard-to-get rifles.
“We still see them come in occasionally,” she said. “But I'd say the longest they sit on my shelf is 30 minutes — they don't stay long.”