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

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Thousands of Guns, No Background Check Required

The state of Maine has a strong tradition of gun ownership. And Maine’s gun owners know that responsible ownership includes keeping guns out of the wrong hands. That’s why 93% of Americans—and the majority of Mainers, regardless of political party—agree: all gun buyers should pass a criminal background check.

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  

Gun Violence and Background Checks in Nevada

Loopholes in the law make it easy for dangerous people in Nevada to get guns, resulting in needless violence—from deadly domestic abuse to suicide and school shootings. This fact sheet brings together the findings of Everytown for Gun Safety’s original investigations and analyses of relevant law enforcement and public health data to illuminate gun violence and crime trends of the illegal gun market in Nevada.

Lessons from Missouri: the Cost of Eliminating Background Checks

For several decades, Missouri required every handgun buyer to pass a criminal background check and obtain a purchase permit. In 2007, the state dismantled its permit system and eliminated the background check requirement.