National Security

Conn. Background Checks for Firearms Up 6,000 Percent

Guns on sale / AP

Background checks for firearms have spiked more than 6,000 percent in the state of Connecticut in the wake of the Newtown shooting and the state's sweeping gun control package.

A background check now must precede any gun purchase in the state, including private sales, according to the state's new laws. State police have become overwhelmed with requests, the Connecticut Post reports:

State Police Col. Danny Stebbins said Friday that a backlog in background check requests has exploded to more than 62,000 from about 1,000 in December, a spike of more than 6,000 percent.

"The numbers are way up," Stebbins said, explaining that much of the increase is related to private gun sales, which now require a background check along with sales at a retailer.

"We didn't see this coming and there was no way we could be prepared for it," he said.

The law is estimated to cost the state up to $17 million through fiscal year 2015, according to the Post, including $4 million for state police to carry out background checks, permits, and the development of a gun offender registry.

Ahead of the gun control package's passage, Connecticut customers faced long lines at gun stores all over the state, in an apparent rush to buy guns and ammunition.

The new laws also limit magazine capacity and expand the number of banned guns under the state's assault weapons ban.