Firearm sales in Connecticut soar (graphics)

Firearm sales in Connecticut soared in 2012, reflecting a dramatic decade-long rise as residents armed themselves in an era of growing concerns about horrific crimes – such as the Newtown school massacre – and more restrictive gun laws.

Sales of handguns and long guns in Connecticut are nearing 80,000 for 2012, more than triple the number sold in 2000, according to a Hearst Newspapers analysis of state data.

Reporters Dug Begley and Michael P. Mayko explain the data in a Sunday story, and the trends can be seen in the graphs above.

In 2000, the number of firearms sold in Connecticut was 22,791, according to the State Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. The 2012 number through Dec. 26 was 78,733.

Some have suggesting fears about crime and concerns about possible gun control may be at the root of the soaring numbers.

The efforts come as the NRA and President Obama battle over how to prevent shootings like the one in Newtown. Since the Dec. 14 school massacre, gun stores in several states have seen a surge in demand for firearms, ammunition and bulletproof gear.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre asked Congress for money to put a police officer in every school and said at a press conference, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He said the problem is the criminal, not the guns.

Obama has called on Congress to take up and pass “common sense legislation that has the support of a majority of the American people.”

He also tasked Vice President Joe Biden with leading the effort to come up with a comprehensive set of proposals to keep children safe. That would include addressing school safety, mental illness, and “a culture that too often glorifies guns and violence.”

Biden helped draft the 1994 crime bill that led to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that year, which expired a decade later. Previous efforts to renew the bill have failed.

Casey McNerthney