Recent gun tragedies in the US have raised the whole question of firearms ownership this Christmas.
Stores that sell guns report brisk sales this year, with gift vouchers for guns proving popular.
Figures show Americans are now buying more than twice as many guns as they did back in 1998.
Gun shop owner James Travis said: “Usually early November, through, usually and actually through the end of January we see a pretty brisk sales season. What we recommend for most people is buy a gift card. That way they can come in and get whatever they want.”
Criminal background checks are now required for purchases, but the rules imposed on stores differ from state to state. Gun control campaigners are calling for tighter restrictions.
Josh Sugarmann, Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center said: “In 2012 more than 33,000 people died from guns. I mean it’s a staggering figure. So for me, I think one of the problems is, things like Sandy Hook, though they shake the nation, they haven’t resulted in change and unfortunately, they move the bar higher as to what shocks us as a nation.”
Sandy Hook was the Connecticut school where 20 children and six adults were shot dead. Those against tougher regulations say people have a constitutional right to buy the firearms protection they feel they need.