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Spike in handgun purchases in Wisconsin


MADISON (WSAU)   The state Justice Department is working overtime to handle the large increase in background checks required for handgun purchases. The state handled just over 138,000 requests for background checks last year on its Handgun Hotline – 55-percent more than in 2011.

Last year was the first full year of Wisconsin’s concealed weapons law – but the background checks for concealed carry permits are not the same ones as for actual handgun purchases. Dana Brueck of the Justice Department said her agency hired extra people to keep up the demand – and occasionally, they’ve had to pay overtime or move people from other duties.

Terence Pavlic follows the industry as the head of a Delafield investment firm. He tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Wisconsin is following a national trend, as gun sales rise and manufacturers can barely keep up with the growing demand.

Last month the F-B-I conducted 2.8-million background checks for gun buyers nationally. That’s more than any other month since Washington started keeping track in 1998. There are no records which show actual gun purchases. The background checks are the closest thing to a state or a national count – but they’re not precise because multiple gun purchases can be handled with one check, and those buy guns from a friend or at a gun show are not required to have their backgrounds checked.