The prospect of a renewed assault weapons ban in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre has set of a round of buying, as thousands of Americans head to their local gun store to secure the popular AR-15 -- the model used by the school gunman -- before potential government prohibitions on their purchase.
They are also buying the .223 ammunition used by the AR-15 and the type of high-capacity magazines covered under the last federal assault weapons ban, which Congress let expire without renewing.
- The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says it set a new record for single-day background check submittals this past weekend.
- In San Diego, Northwest Armory gun store owner Karl Durkheimer said Saturday "was the biggest day we've seen in 20 years. Sunday will probably eclipse that."
- In southwest Ohio, from dawn to dusk a Cincinnati gun show had a line of 400 waiting to get in, said Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association.
The deluge of buyers had officials working overtime. Background checks that normally took 15 minutes in California took more than four hours, Durkheimer said. In Colorado, background checks that normally take minutes turned into wait times of more than 12 hours, said CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina.
"We had to call in extra staff," Medina said. "The wait times were high."
The CBI says it processed more than 4,200 background checks on Saturday, the day after the Newtown, Conn., shooting. That surpassed the previous high of 4,028. Nationwide, FBI data shows 16.4 million background checks were run in 2011.