Background checks for firearm purchases in Colorado have continued to spike over the holidays further overwhelming an already maxed out system and adding additional delays to gun buyers' wait times.
The CBI's wait time on a background check generally takes minutes, but as of Wednesday, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation had 11,420 checks in the queue, The Denver Post reports, causing a wait time of more than nine days. That more than doubles the wait time just from last week when gun buyers saw background checks taking 100 hours or more.
The CBI data also showed that from January through November of 2012, there were 34,117 more background checks submitted than in all of 2011. But the record-shattering continued through the end of 2012 with 1,000 new checks submitted to the CBI just on Christmas Eve alone.
The CBI wait clock tops out at 99 hours and 59 minutes, so CBI has been tracking the requests manually but that data is unavailable to gun dealers, causing further delays.
Since the tragic Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gun sales have been surging in Colorado and across the nation. Fox31 reports that the AR-15, a military-style assault weapon that was used in the Sandy Hook shooting as well as the Aurora shooting, is virtually sold out in Colorado gun shops.
The latest spike in background check requests came in the immediate 48-hour aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting when Colorado set yet another record for background check submittals to buy guns this year.
There have been several unusual surges in gun sales in Colorado in 2012 alone. A large spike in gun sales took place immediately following the tragic Aurora movie theater shooting that left 12 dead and nearly 60 wounded. Just days after the shooting, background checks for people wanting to purchase firearms in the state jumped more than 41 percent. And another sales spike occurred following the Jessica Ridgeway tragedy, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.
Then, on Black Friday, CBI set a new record in the state processing over 4,000 background checks on people purchasing firearms -- that's nearly 1,000 more checks than were run in 2011 when CBI set a single-day record of checking 3,031 gun buyers, according to 9News. So busy was the CBI that the flood of new applications crashed the system twice on Black Friday.
While the number of firearm applications does not correlate with the number of guns in the state -- since a buyer who has passed the background check can get multiple guns and the state does not track the number of firearm purchases -- as of November of this year, 279,149 firearm applications had been approved out of 285,424. That's over 33,000 more approvals since last year, not counting this month when background check submittals set the latest record.
Nationally, a gun sales bump happened close to Obama's election in 2008, and even though buyers' fears have since proven unfounded, Newser reports the fear of a crackdown on guns in Obama's second term has spiked demand once more -- and like clockwork, gun sales spiked following Obama's reelection in November.
"I should put Obama's picture on the wall up there," said an anonymous New Jersey gun salesman to CNBC. "I'd name him salesman of the month!"
But Obama may not be the only reason so many are now interested in packing heat. Analysts say a portion of the increase in sales is due to demographic shifts as well.
"The biggest new group of buyers now are senior citizens," explained Larry Hyatt, the owner of a North Carolina gun shop, to CNBC's Closing Bell. "Ten thousand baby boomers a day are turning 65. They can't run, they can't fight, they got to shoot."