The Background Check Loophole

April 21, 2018

Background checks are a systematic way to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories. Since the system was established, background checks have blocked over 3 million sales to people with felony convictions, domestic abusers, fugitives, and other people prohibited by law from having guns.US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2013-14 - Statistical Tables, by Jennifer C. Karberg, Ronald J. Frandsen, Joseph M. Durst, Trent D. Buskirk, and Allina D. Lee (June 2016), http://bit.ly/2av5tvL. Data for 2015 and 2016 were obtained by Everytown from the FBI directly. Though majority of the transactions and denials reported by FBI and BJS are associated with a firearm sale or transfer, a small number may be for concealed carry permits and other reasons not related to a sale or transfer. But under current federal law, background checks are only required on gun sales at licensed dealers. This loophole in the system makes it easy for millions of guns to change hands each year with no background check, and no questions asked.Miller M, Hepburn L, Azrael D. Firearm Acquisition Without Background Checks: results of a national survey. Annals of Internal Medicine. In fact, an estimated 22 percent of gun transfers take place without a background check – often between strangers who meet online, or at gun shows.Id. Yet states are closing this loophole. As of January 1, 2017, nineteen states and Washington, DC have passed laws to require background checks on all handgun sales.CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, MD, MA, MI, NE, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OR, PA, RI, and WA.

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US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2015 - Statistical Tables, by Jennifer C. Karberg, Ronald J. Frandsen, Joseph M. Durst, Trent D. Buskirk, and Allina D. Lee (Nov 2017), https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ bcft15st.pdf. Data for 2016 was obtained by Everytown from the FBI directly. Though majority of the transactions and denials reported by the FBI and BJS are associated with a firearm sale or transfer, a small number may be for concealed carry permits and other reasons not related to a sale or transfer., Everytown for Gun Safety, Online and Off the Record, October 2014, available at http://everytown.org/documents/2014/10/onlineand- off-the-record.pdf; Danger in the Land of Enchantment, Investigating Online Gun Sales in New Mexico, February 2017, available at https://everytownresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/EGS-031-NewMexico_5a_020817.pdf; The Wild Wild Web, Investigating Online Gun Markets in Nevada, January 2016, available at https://everytownresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Nevada_Wild- WildWeb_073117_web.pdf, Everytown for Gun Safety, Online and Off the Record, October 2014, available at http://everytown.org/documents/2014/10/online-andoff- the-record.pdf, Rudolph, K. E., Stuart, E. A., Vernick, J. S., & Webster, D. W. 2015. Association between Connecticut’s permit-to-purchase handgun law and homicides. American journal of public health, 105(8), e49-e54., Crifasi CK., Meyers JS, Vernick JS, & Webster DW. 2015. Effects of changes in permit-to-purchase handgun laws in Connecticut and Missouri on suicide rates. Preventive Medicine. 2015(79):43–49., National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Operations 2016. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Available at. https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/2016-nics-operations-report-final-5-3-2017.pdf/view, Quinnipiac University Poll, U.S. Support for Gun Control, National Poll, February 2018, available https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail? ReleaseID=2521, Everytown compared the rate of women killed with guns by current or former partners between 2010 and 2014 in states that did or did not require background checks for unlicensed handgun sales. Data were obtained from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the US Census., Everytown compared the rate of law enforcement officers killed with guns that were not their own between 2011 and 2015 in states that did or did not require background checks for unlicensed handgun sales. Data on deaths were obtained from the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted database. Officers working in an official capacity (on or off duty), had full arrest powers, ordinarily worn or carried a badge and a firearm, and been paid from governmental funds specifically appropriated for law enforcement officers were included in the analysis. Population of law enforcement officers (“Police Protection - Persons with Power of Arrest”) were taken from the United States Census Bureau available at https://www.census.gov/govs/apes/., Everytown compared the rate of people who died by firearm suicide between 2011 and 2015 in states that did or did not require background checks for unlicensed handgun sales. Data were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Fatal Injury Reports in December 2016 and the US Census., Daniel W. Webster, Jon S. Vernick, and Maria T. Bulzacchelli, “Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health 86, no. 4 (July 2009): doi:10.1007/s11524-009-9351-x.

background checks

background checks