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The talk of new gun control measures that has followed Friday's mass shooting in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school has gun owners rushing to the nearest store and picking up new weapons, according to gun store owners and state police background check information.
In the time since he took office, gun sales have soared. The government doesn’t track individual sales. But the FBI criminal background check required to purchase a gun is considered a reasonable proxy, and these have hit record numbers each year Obama has been in office. This year, they’re on track to surpass 15 million for the first time.
Dealers and analysts have several theories. One is that hardcore gun enthusiasts fear the lousy economy will set off a crime wave. Another is that political upheaval over the federal debt may lead to riots like those in Greece and London. Still another popular, if paranoid, belief that’s taken hold among gun-rights advocates: that Obama is waiting until he is reelected to separate Americans from their firearms, prompting worried gun owners to stock up in anticipation.