Gun sales in Colorado have soared since 2007, despite the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the Denver Post
Based on background check applications, sales across the state have increased by 58 percent over the past five years, with the largest spikes coming immediately after the July 20 theatre massacre in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, and the Oct. 11 discovery of the mutilated body of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
Gun sales, the Post noted, are also up nationally and broke all records on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, creating a situation that overwhelmed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's background checking system.
Citing law enforcement and social experts, the newspaper reported that sales are linked to fears that people have about their own personal safety, even though crime is actually down nationwide since the early 90s. Experts say the fact that people are bombarded these days with media coverage of shooting sand criminal activity also creates a sense of "imminent danger."
"People need to feel they are protected," Hillary Potter, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, told the Post. "They think, 'If the bad guys have guns, I better have one too.' "
"The crime rate has actually dropped since the '90s, but then something happens like Jessica Ridgeway or Aurora," she said. "It feeds the fear."
Seth Masket, chairman of the political science department at the University of Denver, also told the Post that gun buyers also have a "general fear of Democratic politicians taking away access to guns," despite the fact that there have been "no moves made to do so."
Whatever the reason, gun applications in Colorado increased by 5,055 in August from July, and in October jumped up 2,066 from September, bringing the total for applications in October to 28,002, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The newspaper said that background checks applications on average, excluding August and October, are running about 23,880 per month in Colorado.
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