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Stocking Up: US Gun Sales on Record Spree

© AP Photo / Tony DejakGun control
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Documents released Monday by the FBI reveal that the agency processed more gun-related background checks in September than any other month on record.

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Although the number of checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) does not represent the number of firearms actually sold, the statistics are indicative of how gun sales are trending. Almost all sales made through licensed gun dealers require a background check, and cases in which a potential buyer is turned down are rare.

According to NICS estimates, there were 1,992,219 background checks in September, a significant increase compared to the 1,795,102 during the same month last year.

The record-setting streak began in May 2015, and, for 17 consecutive months, gun sales have increased. If the trend continues, 2016 will easily break last year's 12-month record of 23,141,970 background checks. Currently, 19,872,694 background checks on American citizens seeking to purchase firearms have been recorded this year.

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Numerous mass shootings, escalating racial tensions and civil unrest in America have influenced rising firearms sales, but gun rights activists primarily blame the gun buying surge on fears that outgoing US President Barack Obama, or his replacement, will introduce strict new gun control legislation.

Meanwhile, experts say that, based on the weapons being purchased, sales have spiked due to an increasing interest in self-defense and hunting.

"Sales of handguns and AR's have been very strong for the past two months. Hunting rifles have been about average for this time of year," Scott Blick, a managing partner at Ammunition Depot, told the Washington Examiner. "Ammunition sales are definitely following that pattern with sales of 9mm ammo and.223 ammo being extremely strong."

According to a recent Pew poll on gun ownership, about 110 million US citizens report having a gun in their home.

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