Gun sales rise in South Carolina in wake of Newtown shootings

nophillips@thestate.comJanuary 11, 2013 

— Gun purchases in South Carolina took a significant jump between November and December after 28 people were killed in a school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

While specific sales numbers are not tracked, the FBI keeps track of the number of background checks performed in advance of gun purchases, and those numbers are a good indicator of sales, experts said.

The number of background checks increased 43 percent, to 43,132, from November to December. Gun sales typically go up in December because of holiday buying.

But in November-December 2011, the month-to-month background checks increased 31 percent to 30,533, according to the FBI’s National Instant Check System.

The U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau does not track gun sales. But officials think sales have jumped across the nation, including in the Carolinas, because of the threat of an assault weapons ban, said Earl Woodham, a spokesman in the bureau’s Charlotte office.

Gun dealers across the country have waiting lists for AR-15 rifles, the same type of weapon used in Newtown, where 20 first-graders and six teachers as well as the shooter and his mother were killed.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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