A customer compares handguns before buying one as a Christmas present at the National Armory gun store on Dec. 23, 2015 in Pompano Beach, Florida.
A customer compares handguns before buying one as a Christmas present at the National Armory gun store on Dec. 23, 2015 in Pompano Beach, Florida.  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Background Checks for Gun Sales Break U.S. Record in 2015

Jan 04, 2016

The FBI processed a record-breaking number of firearms background checks in 2015, indicating that gun sales dramatically soared in a year that saw several deadly mass shootings.

The law enforcement agency said Monday it processed 23,141,970 background checks last year – the highest amount since it began conducting them almost two decades ago. The latest tally surpasses the previous record of about 21.1 million set in 2013. The FBI conducted nearly 21 million checks in 2014.

The new numbers came as President Obama was expected to discuss executive actions he can take to combat gun violence in America during a meeting on Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and the deputy director of the ATF. He was then due to take part in a gun control town hall discussion on Thursday.

Several devastating mass shootings took place in the U.S. last year, including one in June at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine, another in October at an Oregon community college that left nine dead and the latest in San Bernardino, Calif. that killed 14 people.

A gunman also killed three people and wounded nine others in a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado on Friday Nov. 27. The FBI said gun background checks soared that same day, breaking a record with 185,345 requests.

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