VIRGINIA

Virginia gun sales rise, firearm-related crimes drop

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Firearms sales in Virginia are increasing while gun-related violent crimes are declining.

Federally licensed gun dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch show that firearms sales rose 16 percent in 2012 to a record 490,119 guns purchased.

During the same period, the number of major crimes committed with firearms dropped 5 percent to 4,378.

Virginia Commonwealth University assistant professor Thomas R. Baker specializes in research methods and criminology theory. He tells the newspaper that the data indicate that more guns don't necessarily lead to more crime.

Josh Horwitz with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence says the real question is how many guns are sold without a background check. He says these guns are more likely to be involved in crimes.

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