(AP) — Virginia State Police figures show the state posted its second-highest annual firearms sales ever in 2015, a year marked by horrific shootings and escalating debate about gun control.
According to state police, the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center conducted more than 444,000 background checks requested by licensed gun dealers last year. That's up nearly 10 percent from 2014 and the most since 2013, when more than 479,000 transactions were recorded.
In December alone, the number of transactions increased by 46 percent to more than 70,000. Advocates on both sides of the gun control debate say the December spike was largely a reaction to that month's shooting that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.
The state doesn't track precise numbers on gun sales, but the background checks provide a close estimate.