Gun Sales Booming in Colorado and Beyond Amid Rash of Mass Shootings

Mass shootings such as the attack in San Bernardino yesterday have led to plenty of public figures, including President Barack Obama, to call for gun-law reforms.

But a good many members of the consuming public have reacted to the heartbreaking news very differently.

On Black Friday, November 27 — the same day Robert Dear killed three people and injured nine others at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility — the FBI conducted more background checks for firearms than during any 24-hour period in its history.

Business is booming at weapons retailers in Colorado, too. While CBS4 reports that Black Friday background checks in Colorado by the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System were roughly the same this year as they were in 2014 — 4,115 versus 4,119 — the 42,271 total for November as a whole is higher than in it's been in that month since 2012.

That, of course, was the year when the Aurora theater shooting took place.

Here's a look at the national numbers. As you can see, more than 185,000 background checks were conducted on November 27, setting a new record, and the 640,022 checks that took place from November 23 to November 29 were the fifth-most for a week.

Colorado is in the middle of the pack when it comes to U.S. background checks.

In 2015 through November 30, 389,515 background checks took place here.

That's far higher than in places such as Delaware (42,746) or Alaska (74,566), but a small fraction of the sum in Texas (1,332,475) or Kentucky (a staggering 2,909,547).

This year, monthly figures in Colorado have been rather consistent.

Each month from January through October, more than 30,000 checks were staged, with July the lowest (31,280) and October the highest (37,785) before November tore through the 40,000 check mark.

However, Decembers have traditionally been the months when the most background checks take place here.

The reason, presumably, is that guns are popular holiday gifts in Colorado.

And that may be especially true this year, either because of an increased interest in self-protection at a time when killers have been racking up casualties at a shocking rate or due to fears that new gun-control legislation may limit the opportunity to purchase certain weapons in the future.

Here's the aforementioned CBS4 piece, followed by two FBI documents. The first lists national firearm background check totals from 1998 to 2015; the second gives state-by-state rankings over the same period.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System Firearm Checks 1998-2015

National Instant Criminal Background Check System State Firearm Checks 2015

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts