TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida gun sales were up 14 percent in 2015, eclipsing the record set following the Sandy Hook shootings. The state’s background check system also turned down more than 11,000 would-be gun buyers.
Federal law makes it a crime to sell a weapon to someone you should reasonably know can’t own a gun. About 1,300 people who were originally turned down by the firearm background check program were able to successfully appeal the decision.
More than 137,000 people sought to buy guns in December alone. The year saw a record 885,000 background checks conducted, up more than 109,000 from the year before.
Sales spiked following the San Bernardino shootings. The state’s National Rifle Association chapter said the record sales are due in part to people realizing police can’t be everywhere.
“And when the White House starts talking about gun control, and banning guns, people start to get serious about their own protection,” said Marion Hammer, with Unified Sportsmen of Florida.
In Florida, Sen. Arthenia Joyner has introduced legislation that would close the so-called gun show loophole. It would require all sales to go through a licensed firearms dealer, which triggers a background check.
“No one should be exempt from the background check,” she said.
While a record number of people did buy a gun, more than 11,000 didn’t pass a background check and were turned down.
The NRA remains opposed to ending casual sales between individuals.
“You don't have to be a licensed car salesman or car dealership to sell a private vehicle to a neighbor or a friend,” Hammer said.
The gun show legislation has been referred to three committees, including one chaired by one of the state's most ardent gun rights supporters.