Guns sales appear to have risen according to FBI reports, which record the number of background checks processed before a buyer is permitted to purchase a gun. The numbers, along with a decreasing interest in the gun control debate, could force politicians to reconsider their strategy in attempting to ban assault weapons.
A background check is required before a buyer can lawfully purchase a gun; that number is on the rise, according to the FBI. The agency recorded 2.8 million background checks during the month of December, up from the 2 million in November that occurred before lawmakers began to consider stricter gun control laws, Reuters reported.
Following the Newtown Connecticut shooting that resulted in 28 deaths, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and President Obama both strongly affirmed that new legislation would be passed in regards to gun control.
"I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids," Obama said during an interview last month.
Feinstein, who has sponsored legislation that banned assault-style weapons in the past, also confirmed that she would be introducing similar legislation in the new year. But while Obama just recently stated his intention to make gun control a number one priority, numbers show that the gun control debate has already lost heat.
"Blame it on the fiscal cliff, blame it on Christmas, blame it on our ability to forget, but the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed," Politico writer Dylan Byers wrote, pointing to figures that show the use of the term "gun control" has significantly reduced since the Newtown shootings.
Moreover, the increase of gun purchases could force politicians to reconsider a ban on assault weapons in order to avoid a prohibition-like crime spike on the black market. Of those recent purchases, one of the top sellers has been the already popular choice favored by target shooters and hunters, the AR-15. Adam Lanza and James Holmes both used the military-style rifle, resulting in the deaths of 40 people in total, half of them children under the age of eight.
"The people we're talking about, once they get into 'I want to kill a lot of people,' it's not a leap for them to see that these guns are made and designed for war," Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, said in a December interview with The New York Times. "And if you look at the industry advertising, that is a consistent theme."