Illinois residents have been on a gun-buying binge.
In December, the Illinois State Police did more than 60,000 background checks on firearms purchasers — an all-time record for any month in Illinois.
And on post-Thanksgiving’s Black Friday, Nov. 27, more than 5,000 background checks were done for gun sales — the most ever for a single day in Illinois.
Altogether, the Illinois State Police did 418,000 background checks on gun buyers in 2015, compared with 162,000 a decade earlier, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show. The number of guns sold could be even higher, though: Each of those transactions could have involved more than one firearm.
Gun sales surged in 2013 and have been steadily strong since then, the records show.
“I don’t know if I would call it a surge, but business is growing,” said Randy Potter, general manager of GAT Guns in East Dundee in the northwest suburbs.
Potter said women are the fastest-growing segment of his business, which includes a firing range and a retail store.
He said gun sales soared in December because of fears stemming from the Nov. 13 mass shooting in Paris and the Dec. 2 massacre in San Bernardino, California. Buyers flocked to stores because of talk by President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton after those shootings about a need for greater gun control, Potter said.
Chicago-area residents also were motivated to buy guns last year by the steady drumbeat in the news over bloodshed in the city, he said.
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