Record holiday gun sales shoot to the top

Tom Rompel, the owner of the Black Weapons Armory store in Tucson, Arizona, speaks to customers on January 10, 2011 in front of his wide selection of guns.
Tom Rompel, the owner of the Black Weapons Armory store in Tucson, Arizona, speaks to customers on January 10, 2011 in front of his wide selection of guns. Getty Images/AFP

During a holiday meant to celebrate peace, a frenzy of Americans bought a piece.

CNN is reporting that nearly 500,000 instant criminal background checks to purchase firearms were performed during the last week before Christmas.

Last-minute gun shopping spiked two days before Christmas, according to National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). On December 23, the NICS ran a total of 102,222 background checks making it the second busiest day in history.

The most popular day for sidearms sales occurred the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, when more than 129,000 checks were performed.

Only 1.3 percent of those whose backgrounds were checked were turned down.

Background checks do not specifically mirror how many guns were actually purchased as some buy more than one weapon when they are given the green light.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association told CNN that Americans have decided that due to local and state budget cuts, police can't always be there, thus they feel the urge to take matters in their own hands during emergencies.

"I think there's an increased realization that when something bad occurs, it's going to be between them and the criminal," Arulanandam explained.

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