ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota set a record last year for the number of gun background checks the FBI conducted in the state.

More people are carrying guns than ever before, but the crime rate remains relatively low. WCCO’s Pat Kessler is looking at the numbers, and giving them a Reality Check.

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We took a hard look at the numbers, and found: Minnesota has a high rate of gun ownership, and a relatively low rate of violent crime.

Minnesota’s violent crime rate hit a 50-year low in 2016, according to the FBI.

And in 2017, the state set a new record for firearms background checks.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System reports it processed nearly 683,544 checks on gun buyers in 2017. That includes: 473,975 permits, 94,383 handguns and 125,516 long guns.

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Minnesota set another 2017 record, too.

The State Department of Public Safety reports 283,188 Minnesotans now have permits to legally carry firearms in public.

In 2017, the state issued 57,651 permits to carry a weapon in public. That’s down from a record 71,156 permits issued in 2016.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about guns in Minnesota. An estimated 36.7 percent of Minnesotans own at least one firearm.

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But we don’t know how many total guns there are in the state, or exactly how many gun owners there are, or how much ammunition is sold every year.