Gun dealers see sales skyrocket in December

Guns are flying off store shelves.

The number of FBI background checks required for Americans to purchase a firearm set a record in December.

More than 2.7 million checks for gun purchases were made in December.{} For the year, the FBI conducted more than 19 million checks. Which also appears to be a record high.{}

Thousands of Alabamians number among those who bought guns last month. And, classes designed to teach people how to use a weapon fill up quickly.

Shelly Smith with Mark's Outdoors says business is booming.

"The last month has been crazy, but a good kind of crazy," says Smith. "It's been very difficult, not only for us, but for distributors getting them from manufacturers, their turnaround is slower so it's a little slower on our end."

In the last month and continuing even now, gun sales at Mark's Outdoors are up by 50%. On average, the store has sold 160 guns each day. "We sold an equal amount of rifles for hunting as we did for handguns and semi-automatics, things like that. Across the board, sales were just up for gun sales," says Smith.

Guns aren't the only hot commodity.{} Online, several websites show a trend that is sweeping the nation. Ammunition is being bought up and becoming harder to find. At Hoover Tactical Firearms, shelves that once held hundreds of rifles are almost completely bare. Austin Cook, the store's general manager believes the political climate amped up gun sales in the last month. "(People) are scared, politically and for their safety. Given the school shootings and given the gun bans that have been talked about," says Cook.With so many guns being purchased by citizens, does that cause concern for law enforcement?

Birmingham police chief A.C. Roper says the second amendment is important, but so is safety and education.

Roper says, "(Law enforcement) would recommend that anyone who has purchased a firearm, whether its for sports, personal protection to get some type of training."