HOUSTON More people are giving guns as gifts this holiday season, according to merchants.

With handguns ranging anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, the holidays can be the time to make a big purchase.

In past Christmas seasons merchants posted record sales in the United States. The FBI reports 1.5 million firearm background checks were done last December the most in a single month. A stunning half million were done on one day: Dec. 23.

There are two reasons behind the numbers, stronger retail sales and the so-called election factor.

President Obama indicated in the second debate he was thinking of restricting high-cap magazines and I think there is some fear there, said Chris Rhodes, of Springs Guns and Ammo.

The political worries are hardly new, but continue to fuel firearms sales.

Texas leads the nation in handgun background checks with over 3.6 million each year.

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