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FBI reviews record-breaking gun background checks

On November 27, the the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) processed 185,345 background checks for gun ownership across the country.

That’s the highest number of firearm checks since the system was created by the FBI on November 30, 1998.

“They’re going to ask you things that pertain to your history,” said Mike O’Dell, Manager of Black Rifle in Columbia. “‘Do you have a history of violence? Do you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse?'”

The background check, or a Form 4473, is filled out right inside the store when someone comes to purchase a gun.

“It takes you longer to fill out the paper work than it takes for us to call it through,” said Jim Hill, a firearms instructor at Target Masters in Columbia.

Both Hill and O’Dell said sales are usually higher during this time of the year as people get ready for hunting season.

This year from November 23 to November 30, more than 600,000 background checks were initiated, making it the fifth highest week of checks in the system’s history.

However, the FBI notes this does not correlate with the number of guns sold.

Both men said they have seen an increase in guns sales over the last several years.

“I’ve definitely seen an uptick in the last few years of more people looking for something for personal protection,” O’Dell said. “Definitely have seen an increase in female buyers.”

Hill said he was teaching a 50-year-old woman how to shoot a gun for the first time. He said the woman was learning to shoot a gun to get her concealed carry permit.

“Nowadays classes are about 50 percent female and in the last two years we started getting minorities in here because of things going on in their neighborhood,” Hill said. “It’s never slowed down. “

In Missouri, nearly 500,000 background checks have been completed so far this year. 55,031 in November alone.

You can find a detailed breakdown on the number of gun background checks by state and by type of firearm here.

The number of concealed carry permits also continue to rise across Mid-Missouri.

The latest numbers from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department show 2,232 CCW permits have been issued in the county so far in 2015. That’s up 31 percent from the number of permits issued in 2014. Currently 2,903 people have their concealed carry permits in Cole County.

Although gun shops know the background check is beneficial, some believe the system has it’s flaws.

“Unfortunately people lie,” O’Dell said. “And as long as they’ve given me no indications that make me think that they’re lying or there’s no indications where red flags are raised, I have to go off of what the form says.”

“If it was a perfect world, they would work great,” Hill said. “But the problem is the government doesn’t have some pertinent data they need, so they’re always slipping through the cracks. We’ve even had them we could sell a gun to somebody, then call back three days later and tell us to not sell it.”

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