By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – The National Rifle Association kicks off its annual convention Friday in Indianapolis, drawing thousands of gun owners and activists defending the Second Amendment.

And as the group talks about our right to bear arms it seems many people are exercising that right.

Applications for firearms jumped by a record amount from 2005 to 2013 – up 380-percent – according to a memo released this week by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

And the ATF says that surge has created a massive backlog. It’s gotten so big they can’t keep up with it, so the agency is now temporarily suspending parts of its registration system for guns and explosives so it can boost capacity.

USA Today says the ATF is even hiring extra people to help handle the crunch. And the record demand comes with record production of firearms in this country.

Researchers have tried to rationalize our demand for guns for years.

Demand for firearms really began to spike before President Obama first took office. People at the time said they were afraid the new Democratic administration would take their guns.

But the Pew Research Center did some work on this about a year after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and found the reasons why people in this country own guns have evolved over the last 15 years.

A majority in the late 90’s told a Washington Post-ABC News poll they owned guns for hunting.

A majority today tell Pew they have firearms for personal protection.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz



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