By the end of last year, the number of federal background checks for firearm sales surged, but now the numbers have gone down again unexpectedly.  The debate over new gun control measures continues in Washington.

The Associated Press analyzed data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was published this week.  Their findings show that the National Instant Criminal Background Check system processed more than 2.78 million checks in December 2012.  Their analysis shows that was a peak over the 12-month period into last fall.  The number then fell to 2.48 million in January.

The drop of 10 percent between December 2012 and January 2013 comes as citizens and lawmakers alike are discussing gun control across the country.  The latest discussion started after twenty students and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi saw the largest declines in background checks from December to January, by about one-third.