Background Checks on All Gun Sales
What is the problem?
Background checks are the foundation of any comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy. Current federal law requires that background checks be conducted whenever a person attempts to buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer. This is to ensure that the buyer is not legally prohibited from having the gun.
While federal law requires background checks for all gun sales by licensed gun dealers, it does not require background checks for guns sold by unlicensed sellers, like non-dealers who sell guns online or at gun shows. This loophole enables people with felony convictions, domestic abuse restraining orders, and other people with prohibiting histories to buy guns with no questions asked. The loophole should be closed to require background checks on all gun sales—not just on the sale of firearms from licensed gun dealers.
Myth & Fact
Requiring background checks on all gun sales would be burdensome.
The most common federal background check legislation would simply require that unlicensed sellers meet their buyers at a gun dealer. The gun dealer will then run a background check in exactly the same way as for sales directly from the dealer’s store. 99 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a gun dealer—so it’s easy and convenient to get the background check done. There are nearly 59,000 unique gun dealers across the country, four times as many as there are McDonald’s and nearly twice as many as U.S. post offices. Gun owners are already accustomed to this process, because they do it every time they buy a gun from a dealer.
Background Checks on All Gun Sales
A Deadly Year in Cities — And How Policymakers Can Respond
The surge in gun homicides is an upward trend that is being felt in communities across the nation.Fact Sheet
Undeniable: How Long-Standing Loopholes in the Background Check System Have Been Exacerbated by COVID-19
Loopholes must be addressed to ensure that guns are not sold without a completed background check.Report
Methodological Note: A More Complete Picture
Read the Report A More Complete Picture: The Contours of Gun Injury in the United States Report…Methodological Note
A More Complete Picture: The Contours of Gun Injury in the United States
Nonfatal gunshot wounds account for an enormous portion of the gun violence epidemic in America.Report
Firearm Suicide By Congressional District
There are 52 firearm suicides on average per congressional district each year, yet there is district-level variation across the country.Report
ATF & the Rising Threat of Ghost Guns
A ghost gun is a DIY, homemade gun made from readily available, unregulated building blocks. It is produced by an individual, not a federally licensed…Fact Sheet
Gun Violence and COVID-19
The US has seen the collision of two major public health crises: COVID-19 and gun violence.Report
Thousands of Preventable Gun Suicides
The deep economic downturn caused by COVID-19, combined with the millions of guns already in homes and the millions more being purchased during each month…Fact Sheet
Update Background Check Laws
Updating federal and state laws to require background checks on all gun sales is a common-sense way to keep guns out of the wrong hands…Fact Sheet
99% of Americans Live Within 10 Miles of a Gun Dealer
Expanding the federal background checks law to cover all gun sales would require unlicensed sellers to meet their buyers at a gun dealer, who will…Fact Sheet
A Nation of Survivors: The Toll of Gun Violence in America
“The fact is gun violence has taken so many lives. And not just in Florida or D.C. or Chicago. Gun violence is everywhere and, as…Report
Unchecked: Over 1 Million Online Firearm Ads
Some states require background checks on unlicensed sales, but over 30 states do not. To understand this online loophole, Everytown reviewed all firearm posts on…Report