December Gun Background Checks in Colo. Nearly Triple in Less Than 20 Years

Last month, we noted that gun sales were booming in Colorado following mass shootings in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino.

According to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, 42,271 background checks for gun purchases were made in Colorado during November 2015 — a total higher than any in that month since 2012.

But reports that President Barack Obama will impose new gun control measures via executive order today appear to be fueling an even bigger rush for firearms. Indeed, last month's gun sales in Colorado were off the charts, with more background checks than any other December since at least 1998 — the most recent year included in an NICBCS stats document shared below.

Oh yeah: The 2015 total of 64,547 background checks is nearly triple the number conducted in 1998.

In our previous post, we noted that Black Friday 2015 (November 27) set a national record for most background checks in a single day: 185,345. That total managed to hold throughout the season — but an incredible four weeks during December are now among the ten with the most background checks dating back to 1998, as seen in this graphic:

The record-setting continued in Colorado.

Below, see the total number of background checks conducted during Decembers from 1998 to 2015. Note that the totals are in the 20,000 range (with a surge between 1999 and 2001) until Obama's election in 2008, after which they surge — and reach a new peak in 2015.

1998: 23,176

1999: 45,397

2000: 37,766

2001: 40,529

2002: 19,938

2003: 20,714

2004: 24,630

2005: 24,669

2006: 24,297

2007: 25,846

2008: 35,616

2009: 29.201

2010: 34,693

2011: 39,534

2012: 53,453

2013: 43,268

2014: 47,309

2015: 64,547

As you can see, last months' 64,000-plus total is more than triple the number of background checks conducted during the same month in 2003 and 2004 and more than double the totals in recent years.

As pointed out by 9News, this trend stays true during the other months of the year as well. Annual background checks in Colorado doubled from 200,000 in 2009 to 400,000 in 2013 — and denials have gone up, too, rising from 5,400 in 2009 to more than 7,300 in 2012 and 2013. Turn-downs have been happening on about 2 percent of requests in recent years.

That means more than 60,000 gun sales went through in Colorado last month, with many of them presumably for more than one gat.

And that number could grow this month if gun fanciers begin to fear what Obama will do next. Here are the aforementioned background check stats for all fifty states from 1998 through 2015.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System State Stats 1998-2015

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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