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Firearm background checks doubled in week following Sandy Hook school shootings, says FBI

Robert Mueller, III

In testimony before a Senate appropriations subcommittee on May 16, FBI Director Robert Mueller, III revealed that the busiest week in the history of the instant criminal background check program for prospective gun purchasers was the week immediately before the massacre of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, on December 14, 2012.

However, that record was blown to smithereens when the number of firearms checks nearly doubled in the week immediately following those shootings in Connecticut.

“Before the shooting, the busiest week in NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] was the week of December 3-9, 20012, when 527,095 firearm checks were initiated,” Mueller told the subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies, when he testified on behalf of the FBI’s budget request for $8.4 billion in fiscal year 2014. “The week following the shooting, December 17-23, 2012, NICS volume approached one million transactions and continue to exceed historical peak volume.”

The high demand for firearm checks continued into the beginning of 2013, Mueller explained, with the first six full weeks of 2013 ranking among the 10 busiest weeks in NCIS history.

To keep up with the accelerated past of firearm check requests, the FBI is seeking an additional 524 personnel positions and an extra $100 million “to increase the ability to process mandated background checks for firearm purchases,” said Mueller.