Floridians are snapping up guns at a record pace.
“Typically are two highest volume days are Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas,” said Gretl Plessinger with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Each day since the tragic Sandy Hook school shootings, except last Sunday, has seen a record for the number of background checks being made in Florida.
Floridians are on track to buy 750,000 guns this year. That’s a 100,000 more than last year.
Gun dealer Mark Folmar says the people buying guns from him are not reacting to the shootings. “Most of the guns we’ve sold this Christmas season have been guns that people had planned to buy anyway.”
Florida State University Criminologist Gary Kleck agrees. “They were gonna get them eventually.”
Kleck says rather than focus on the Connecticut tragedy, policy makers should look at violent deaths overall.
“Because ninety nine percent of the homicides in America are not mass shootings,” said Dr. Kleck.
One way to do that says the researcher, is to do a better job of screening someone’s mental health.
“We have wildly incomplete mental health records; records that would establish that a person has been declared by a court of law to be dangerous to themselves and others. And yet, the guy doing the background check is not likely to have access to the vast majority of those records,” said Dr. Kleck.
It is illegal for someone with mental health problems to purchase a gun in Florida, but without adequate background checks or mental health services, the law is meaningless.
Since 2004, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has conducted just over 4.3 million background checks on gun purchasers. The vast majority have been approved.