(Reuters) – The number of FBI background checks required for Americans buying guns set a record in December, as the Connecticut school massacre stirred interest in self-defense and prompted renewed talk of limits on firearms, according to FBI data.

The FBI said it recorded 2.8 million background checks during the month, surpassing the mark set in November of 2 million checks. The number was up 49 percent over December 2011, when the FBI performed a then-record 1.9 million checks.

Consumer demand for guns appears to have accounted for the uptick in activity. There were no changes in FBI background check procedures that would have affected the December numbers, FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer said.

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