By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - The number of people in Colorado applying for background checks to purchase firearms has surged in the aftermath of the movie theater shootings in Aurora, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.
In the three days after the rampage, 2,887 people were approved for gun buys, compared with 2,012 the weekend before, a 43.5 percent increase, according to data supplied by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The bureau has an online background check system that tracks and processes gun permit applications. The system does not show how many guns were actually sold.
A gunman clad in tactical body armor and a gas mask and carrying three guns opened fire at a midnight showing of the new "Batman" film early on Friday, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.
Suspect James Eagan Holmes, 24, was arrested minutes later behind the theater and made an initial court appearance on Monday.
Brandon Baker, owner of Rocky Mountain Guns & Ammo in Parker, Colorado, about 15 miles from Aurora, said business had been brisk since the shooting.
"Our gun sales have gone up, but we've had more requests for training," said Baker, a certified firearms instructor. "I'm booked up for the next 2 1/2 months."
Most of the people seeking firearms or training had been women, Baker said, adding his training included "situational awareness" in addition to firearms proficiency.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney)