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Virginia gun transactions set record in 2013

January 2, 2014 | Virginia News

BY MARK BOWES, Richmond Times-Dispatch

As expected, Virginia gun sales set a new high in 2013 with nearly 480,000 transactions statewide, breaking the previous record set just a year ago.

Gun transactions in Virginia totaled 479,243 for the year, a 10.8 percent increase over the previous record of 432,387 transactions in 2012, according to Virginia State Police figures of mandatory criminal-background checks of gun buyers released today.

State police said 2013 represents the highest yearly volume of firearm transactions since the inception of Virginia’s background check program that began Nov. 1, 1989.

Gun sales exploded during the first four months of 2013, with month-over-month increases of 115.8 percent, 38.5 percent, 41 percent and 28.4 percent for January, February, March and April, respectively, police said.

Gun sales on Black Friday also set a new record, but overall sales in November and December dipped from 2012 sales for those months, records show.

In December, Virginia Commonwealth University assistant professor Thomas R. Baker, who specializes in criminology theory and has an interest in firearm-related issues, said it will be interesting to see if concerns about gun control have subsided after the defeat of national gun legislation proposed last year, and if that “will lead to smaller increases of annual gun sales in years to come.”

Gun dealers have cited President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012 and the fears of increased gun restrictions after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut as the driving forces behind the leap in gun sales. ...

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