VERONA, Va.-- Sales of firearms in Virginia increased in 2012, as gun-related violent crimes dropped, according to a report from the Richmond Times- Dispatch.
The report shows in 2012, people bought 490,119 guns, a 16 percent increase from 2011. However, gun-related crimes have dropped from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 in 2012.
An employee at a local gun shop said he has noticed the difference.
He said since December of 2012, employees have sold 25 to 30 guns each week, compared to 10 to 15 before.
The Gun Shack employee Jordan Coffman said sales spiked after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
"People got kind of worried and they wanted to make sure they could protect themselves and their families," said Coffman.
However, Augusta County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Brian Jenkins said the number of gun-related crimes have not increased.
"Our violence involving firearms have pretty much being steady. We pretty much run the same number of aggravated assaults, murders and suicides involved with firearms," said Jenkins.
He said deputies investigate one to two murders a year. But this year they have not seen one yet, even though the availability of firearms is high.
"Things have been on the downward slide for the past couple years as far as the violent crimes. I think the pick up of the weapons has been in the past eight months about last December and we really haven't noticed any change," said Jenkins.
Coffman said he does not think extra gun sales trigger gun sales.
"I think the people that aren't supposed to have guns are going to get them some way or the other and the people who are responsible and have guns are going to come in here and buy them as legal citizens," said Coffman.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch report, although gun-related crime dropped last year, murders and non-negligent manslaughter deaths involving firearms increased in 2012.
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