Delaware Online: Gun purchases surge in Delaware

Delaware gun purchases surged in December and January – an increase fueled by nontraditional gun owners seeking protection, firearm sellers and advocates say.

A total of 12,556 federal background checks were conducted for people buying guns in Delaware during the previous two months, according to data from the FBI – a 26 percent jump over December 2014 to January 2015. Gun vendors must submit a background check request to the FBI for the purchase of any firearm.

“Much of that was due to an increase in handgun sales used for personal safety,” said Bob Miller, owner of Miller’s Gun Center in New Castle, who credited recent high-profile mass shootings nationally with driving demand. “There’s a concern (about safety) that’s media-driven.”

The increase rekindles an ongoing debate over whether more guns in a community make people safer. While national and state crime data is inconclusive regarding any trends with gun ownership, more people are turning to guns in Delaware to respond to a perception of increasing insecurity.

“I used to be anti-gun for the longest time,” said Dominique Carpio, a senior at the University of Delaware, who worries about becoming a victim of one of the crimes she frequently hears about in New Castle County. “I just bought my first pistol in November.”

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