03/13/2013 02:44 pm ET

Guns Sales Surging At Same Time Americans Cut Back Elsewhere

Americans may be cutting back on extras, but they’re still racing to buy guns.

Feeling pinched by the end of the payroll tax cut, high gas prices and a delay in their tax refunds, shoppers last month slashed spending on discretionary items like electronics and restaurant visits, according to Commerce Department data released Wednesday.

Yet during this same period, the FBI received a historically high number of requests for gun background checks -- an indicator of gun sales -- according to CNN.

February marked the fourth month in a row that background checks topped 2 million -- though the number did drop from the prior month. Before that streak, the number of gun background checks per month had never exceeded 1.8 million, according to CNN.

The surge in gun sales comes in the wake of the Newtown shooting and amid discussions of whether the country should tighten gun control laws. It’s not uncommon for panicked gun enthusiasts to stock up if it seems that guns will soon be harder to come by, according to CNBC. Perhaps that explains why shoppers are more willing to shell out money for a gun than a pair of headphones.



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