In the states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are lower rates of gun violence across a variety of groups: 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners, 48 percent fewer on-duty law enforcement officers are killed with handguns that are not their own, and 48 percent less gun trafficking in their cities. The system works: since 1998, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has blocked more than 2.5 million attempted purchases by dangerous people who are prohibited from buying guns. But in order to make all Americans safer, federal law should require background checks for all gun sales.
States must also submit all missing mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Everytown has documented states’ failures to submit hundreds of thousands of missing mental health records to the background check system, and identified steps they can take to close these gaps.