JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The gift of a gun may be high on many Floridians' holiday shopping lists. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it is on target to conduct nearly 1 million background checks this year on private firearm purchases.
The projection comes as the department is reporting a record number of reviews conducted over the Thanksgiving weekend, more than 13,000.
Troy Gibson and his wife just got their concealed weapons permit and say guns are at the top of their Christmas wish list.
"She wants to get a .38 and I want to get a 9mm," Gibson said.
Others have the same hopes this holiday season. Managers at Green Acres say guns and ammo, especially .22 long rifle ammo, are flying off the shelves, especially this month.
"More people are getting into shooting," said Green Acres Manager, Phillip Gazaleh. "More of a pastime of family, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters going out and enjoying shooting."
Gazaleh says the increase in sales is also because people are taking advantage of great deals.
"The Henry 22 lever action, they're normally $400, but you can buy them for Christmas for like $250 we have on sale," Gazaleh said.
Another popular gift this holiday season is a concealed weapon purse. It has a built-in holster and trap door so you can pull your gun out in a hurry.
Some people think giving a gun as a Christmas gift is inappropriate.
"I got kids, they like to play. I won't even buy them water guns, so I think it's stupid," said Gerald Jefferson.
National Rifle Association lobbyists say gun sales will continue to grow because of the increasing population and a growing awareness of Florida's concealed-carry laws.
"With all the talk in the media, gun control, gun laws changing, crime, people are nervous. They really want to protect themselves or buy guns before there are so many taxes on them they're too expensive to even afford them," Gazaleh said.
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