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Gun sales spike in August after shootings, FBI data suggests

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 9/6/2015 RICH SCHAPIRO

One VIrginia lawmaker called the stockpiling of weapons ‘an over-reaction.’ - Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One VIrginia lawmaker called the stockpiling of weapons ‘an over-reaction.’ - Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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FBI data suggests gun sales in the U.S. shot up in August after a barrage of high-profile shootings led to renewed calls for stronger firearm laws.

The FBI posted 1.7 million background checks required of gun buyers at federally-licensed dealers — the highest number seen in any August since the checks began in 1998, according to a USA TODAY report published Saturday.

It turns out it was a very busy summer for gun lovers.

The soaring tally comes on the heels of monthly highs for June (1.5 million) and July (1.6 million), a stretch that spanned a series of deadly gun attacks from Charleston to Roanoke.

"Whenever there is a call for gun control, sales increase,” said Larry Keane, general counsel for the firearm industry trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation.

"Unfortunately, this is a pattern that repeats itself.”

The FBI does not record actual gun sales — as multiple firearms can be included in a transaction by a single buyer — but the National Instant Criminal Background Check System's data suggests the market is booming.

The apparent summer buying spree did not quite match the boom that followed the 2012 Newtown, Conn. massacre, which sparked a chorus of calls for stricter gun laws that ultimately went unheeded.

The shocking Aug. 26 murder of a reporter and cameraman in Virginia capped the recent spate of shootings and reignited a push for stricter gun laws.

Patrick Hope, a Virginia state assemblyman who proposed an expansion of background checks following the murders, said the stockpiling of weapons represented an “over-reaction.”

“We're not at all threatening any one's ability to get a gun,” Hope told USA TODAY.

"What we're talking about here is common sense legislation. I don't think anyone is threatened by background checks.”


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