The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is seeing an historic increase in Florida gun sales, a trend the agency says is at least partly a reaction to the latest terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen told Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members Tuesday that firearms sales typically show a spike around the holidays, but the latest surge began soon after the California massacre. FDLE's Firearm Purchase Program conducts criminal background checks of people who buy firearms at retail stores, and state law requires a three-day waiting period for all handgun purchases.
"After the San Bernardino event, we did see a significant increase in the number of requests," Swearingen told reporters. He said average daily requests for background checks are up by 45 percent from this time last year.
FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said call volume on Saturday was 73 percent higher than on the same date a year ago and Sunday's call volume was 86 percent higher than the same date a year ago. "We increased our staffing level and added phone lines over the weekend to deal with the volume," Plessinger said.
The number of background checks in November (which is not necessarily the same as firearms sold) was 83,023, compared to 72,908 in 2014, the agency said. Through Sunday, Dec. 6, FDLE had 25,437 requests compared to 90,957 for all of December 2014. The year-to-date requests were 772,582 through Dec. 6 compared to 774,363 for all of last year.