11 days before Christmas, Brian Panzer bought his first gun, a semi-automatic rifle. Today he signed up for lifetime shooting privileges at the Firing Line Gun Shop in Pearl River, New York.
"I woke up today and I was like, I gotta shoot. I gotta do it. It's just fun!" says Panzer.
Panzer was just one of a wave of Americans seeking to buy guns in December. Firing Line manager Doug Kleber confirms sales at the suburban New York store have been brisk.
"They were steady through the year with an increase for the holidays."
If it's clear that background checks for gun permits are setting records, it's not clear why.
Bt the National Rifle Association sees two trends.
In a statement to CBS News the NRA said, "More Americans are participating in the shooting sports and also taking stock of their personal safety and the safety of their families."
The record number of background checks on persons shopping for guns does not reveal how many guns are being sold. buyers often take home more than one.
But a leading gun control group attributes the holiday surge to repeat buyers.
We see for example about 20 percent of gun owners own about 65% of the guns. So gun ownership is concentrated in a very small number of gun owners," says Dennis Hennigan of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Background checks for gun permits are required by federal law but the FBI advises that not everyone who gets checked winds up buying a gun.
(Tony Guida, CBS News)