In the states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are lower rates of gun violence across a variety of groups: 47 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners, 53 percent fewer law enforcement officers are shot to death in the line of duty with guns 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.

Background Checks

background checks
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Fact Sheets Background Checks January 15, 2015

Gun Violence and Background Checks in Vermont

This fact-sheet brings together the findings of Everytown’s original investigations and analyses of relevant law enforcement and public health data to illuminate trends in gun violence and crime in Vermont.

Also featured in:  Gun Violence Trends  

Fact Sheets Background Checks September 15, 2014

Gun Violence in Washington State

This fact sheet brings together the findings of Everytown’s original investigations and analyses of relevant law enforcement and public health data to illuminate trends in gun violence and crime in Washington State.

Also featured in:  Gun Violence Trends  

Fact Sheets Background Checks September 4, 2014

Washington Law Enforcement Deaths and Illegal Guns

An Everytown for Gun Safety 2014 analysis of FBI data shows that nearly two-thirds of Washington State police officers shot to death over the last 30 years were killed by people who were barred from possessing firearms.

Also featured in:  Gun Violence Trends  

Polls Background Checks July 30, 2014

2014 National Survey of Women Voters' Attitudes Toward Gun Violence Prevention

In July 2014, Purple Insights conducted a nationwide survey of women voters on behalf of Everytown, with an oversample of Republican/Independent voters.
Reports Background Checks May 16, 2014

Closing the Gaps

In the November 2011 report Fatal Gaps, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) documented that 23 states and the District of Columbia had each submitted fewer than 100 records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system. Fatal Gaps called for stronger state reporting laws and for federal funding to states to build needed reporting infrastructure. This update finds that many states and the federal government have adopted these recommendations, and the background check system has dramatically improved.