by Steven Hale
A little bit of chart porn from this week's issue of The City Paper — now on newsprint and in the blue boxes on Fridays — shows the trend in firearms transactions in Tennessee for the last 10 years. As you can see, annual firearms transactions have more than doubled in that time. (Gun rights have also expanded in the state, resulting in more places where these many more guns can be carried.)
Even without the significant spike in sales that tends to follow mass shootings in this country, 2012 was the biggest year on record for gun sales in Tennessee. 2013 will almost certainly be bigger. Although they represented a slowdown in sales from December 2012 — when the combination of the holiday season and the feverish rush in response to talk of forthcoming gun control led to an unprecedented 82,937 transactions — firearms transaction totals for January and February, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigations records, were well-above the monthly averages seen in previous years.
Out of 59,716 and 57,003 transactions in January and February respectively, over 1,600 were denied each month due to a failed background check.