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      Handgun sales make big boom

      Many factors could play into the recent rise in pistol sales. One thing is certain, retailers aren't complaining.

      Shooters Indoor Gun and Archery Range say sales were up 40 percent for the month of December, in comparison to 2011.

      Hampel's in Traverse City reports that they have seen a nearly 300 percent increase in sales for all things gun related just in the last two weeks.

      "Obviously from a business stand point it's awesome. It keeps the economy going with so many people not working now," said Bill Freet, for Shooters. "And it obviously keeps me employed so I'm happy there."

      Some of the sales increases may be due to Governor Rick Snyder, signing a bill in December that weakened restrictions on checks for people purchasing hand guns.

      "The national instant criminal background check that has been done for long guns, rifles, and shotguns by dealers is now extended to pistols," said Sheriff Tom Bensley. "So they will be doing the instant criminal background checks prior to pistol purchases in Michigan."

      The local law enforcement officials were previously doing background checks for all pistol purchases.

      The sheriff believes that strong gun sales may also be driven by fear of government looking to enact stricter gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass shooting.