Gun sales hit record high in 2016
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Gun sales hit a record high in 2016, according to FBI data on background checks released on Wednesday.

The number of background checks conducted by the FBI, which correlates with approximate gun sales, soared to 27,538,673 — an increase of more than 4 million over 2015. The data doesn’t include many guns privately sold or given to friends and family members. The FBI data was first reported by The Washington Examiner.

The spike in gun sales came in a year dominated by rising fears of international terrorism and the potential for a Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Santorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI Giuliani claims McGahn was a 'strong witness' for Trump MORE presidency, which some feared would lead to tighter firearm regulations.

Clinton campaigned on strengthening firearms restrictions — a direct foil to President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE’s campaign message.

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A spate of international terrorist attacks also dominated headlines last year, most notably a deadly mass shooting at an Orlando, Fla. nightclub that left 49 people dead and another 53 wounded.

Gun sales also surged shortly after President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarriet Tubman on the bill would be smart for the president, his party and the nation The US must not turn its back on refugees Gorka calls Trump's comments on Mexican immigrants ‘fake news’  MORE’s election in 2008. But the increase pales in comparison to the surge in 2016. Since Obama took office, overall gun ownership in the U.S. has more than doubled.

Gun rights have been a hot-button issue throughout Obama’s two terms in the Oval Office, with many critics claiming that the president would clamp down on Second Amendment rights by restricting sales and levying tighter purchasing requirements. But the administration’s efforts to impose new restrictions ultimately did not match those fears.