WASHINGTON — The U.S. gun market is booming.
An analysis by The Associated Press found domestic sales of firearms and ammunition increased by nearly 6% in the first six months of this year.
In fact, the U.K. reported the biggest increase in gun sales in a single calendar quarter, surpassing the 2% increase in the previous quarter.
And in Canada, sales of handguns and rifles increased by more than 6% last year, the highest rate in the country.
The AP report found that a large portion of the increase in sales came from private transactions between people and private sellers, and gun dealers.
U.S.-based gun retailers say sales are growing quickly and are taking advantage of tighter restrictions on sales.
One of the biggest challenges for retailers is ensuring they have the right inventory to meet the growing demand.
For example, some states, such as Florida, have banned sales to people who are not licensed or have a felony record, and many states, including California, prohibit people from purchasing weapons on their social media accounts.
While a small number of states have implemented some restrictions on private sales, many are not, and the NRA and other gun rights groups argue that restrictions are unnecessary and that gun sales have soared in states that have not.
To help explain how the gun industry is doing, the AP asked several experts and analysts to explain why gun sales are surging.
Gun control advocates have long been critical of gun manufacturers and retailers for not acting quickly to prevent mass shootings.
Many of those same critics have called for more gun control, arguing that a ban on assault weapons would have prevented the Newtown, Conn., massacre and other mass shootings last year.