RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia gun sales surged to an apparent record high in 2012.
State police statistics on gun buyers' mandatory criminal-background checks showed that there were 432,387 gun transactions last year. That's a 35 percent jump from 2011 and the largest year-to-year increase in 20 years.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that those in the industry say the spike was fueled in part by the summer repeal of the state's one-handgun-per-month law and fears of increased gun restrictions after December's school shooting in Connecticut. Transactions in December rose 79 percent over the same month in 2011.
Not all checks represent the sale of a gun, as some customers buy multiple firearms and other checks involve people reclaiming firearms that had been pawned. Exact sales figures aren't recorded in Virginia.