Firearm Sales Continue to Increase

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Despite a weak economy and slumping retail sales, firearm sales continued to increase in January, continuing an upswing that began after November's election.

Data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) show background checks on the sale of firearms jumped 28.8 percent in January when compared to January 2008. The increase follows a 24 percent rise in December and a 42 percent jump in November, when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.

FBI background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed retailers. These checks serve as a strong indicator of actual sales.

"Since the election, sales of firearms -- in particular handguns and semi-automatic hunting and target rifles -- are fast outpacing inventory," said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. "Americans are clearly concerned about their ability to be able to purchase these products in an uncertain future."

NICS reported 1,213,885 checks in January, up from 942,556 in the same month a year ago. Last year, a total of 12,709,023 background checks were reported, up 14 percent from 2007.

NSSF, founded in 1961, is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition and recreational shooting sports industry. It promotes the safe ownership and responsible use of products its members make and sell. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.