Gun stores

There has been a surge in gun sales in the US ahead of tighter controls proposed by President Obama.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System said the number of checks rose by 38% in December, compared with December 2014. Background checks are an indication of future sales.

Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson said the market was "stronger than originally anticipated" as it raised its sales forecasts for the third quarter and its financial year. The company now expects to make $175-180 million in the third quarter, up from earlier estimates of $150-155m.

Smith & Wesson explained that sales had risen so fast that it wasn't able to keep up with demand, resulting in limited availability.

On Monday, the US government announced proposals on tighter gun controls outlined by President Obama. Following a string of shooting in the US in recent years, the topic of US gun control has become a major debate, not just in the US. But the president has faced huge opposition from gun supporters who highlight their 'right to bear arms' in the American constitution.

Under the proposals, arms retailers will have to secure a licence and more buyers will have to go through more background checks.