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'Forty percent of guns don’t go through background checks' Lie Debunked

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

'Forty percent of guns don’t go through background checks' Lie Debunked

The claim that 40 percent of gun sales do not go through a federal background check is false and comes from a decades-old survey that has been widely debunked.

  • Media outlets including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Washington Post have concluded that this claim is false.  Washington Post gave the claim 3 out of 4 Pinocchios for being way off target.
     
  • Most of the survey covered sales before a federal background check system existed.
     
  • The 1994 survey was conducted eight months after the Brady Act went into effect, mandating background checks on individuals seeking to buy firearms from federally licensed dealers. Survey participants were asked about their gun acquisitions going back two years. Some of the participants likely made gun purchases before the Brady Act, when they were not required to undergo federal background checks.
     
  • Self-reports are inherently unreliable – not actual data of sales.
     
  • Only a small group of gun owners — 251 people — answered the survey question about the origin of their weapons. Some of the gun owners were not sure how they had gotten their guns, answering “probably” or “probably not” on whether they got the gun from a licensed firearm dealer.
     
  • Additionally, the federal survey simply asked buyers if they thought they were buying from a licensed firearms dealer. While all Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) do background checks, only those perceived as being FFLs were counted. Yet, there is much evidence that survey respondents who went to the smallest FFLs, especially the “kitchen table” types, had no idea that the dealer was actually “licensed.” Many buyers seemed to think that only “brick and mortar” stores were licensed dealers, and so the survey underestimating the number of sales covered by the checks.
     
  • The researchers gave this number for all transactions, including gifts, not just “sales.” Count only guns that were bought, traded, borrowed, rented, issued as a job requirement or won through raffles, and 85 percent went through federally licensed gun dealers; just 15 percent would’ve been transferred without a background check.
     
  • Economist John Lott, the author of several landmark studies on the real-world impact of gun control, has concluded that if you take out transfers of guns either between FFLs or between family members, the remaining number of transfers falls to about 10 percent. Lott stated, “We don’t know the precise number today, but it is hard to believe that it is above single digits.” (http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/op-ed-truth-background-checks)

Facts on “how criminals get their guns”:

How criminals get guns— According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the vast majority of criminals in state prison for gun crimes get guns through theft, on the black market, from a drug dealer or “on the street.” Less than one percent get guns from gun shows.

Straw purchasers— According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), “The most frequent type of trafficking channel identified in ATF investigations is straw purchasing from federally licensed firearms dealers. Nearly 50 percent . . . .” Straw purchasers are people who pass background checks and buy guns for criminals, defeating the background check system.

Stolen guns— According to the BJS, “about 1.4 million guns, or an annual average of 232,400, were stolen during burglaries and other property crimes in the six-year period from 2005 through 2010.” The FBI’s stolen firearm file contained over 2 million reports as of March 1995.The BATFE has reported “Those that steal firearms commit violent crimes with stolen guns, transfer stolen firearms to others who commit crimes, and create an unregulated secondary market for firearms, including a market for those who are prohibited by law from possessing a gun. ”Even gun control supporters have said, “approximately 500,000 guns are stolen each year from private citizens. . . . Obviously, these stolen guns go directly into the hands of criminals. ”A study conducted by gun control supporters found that in 1994 “About 211,000 handguns and 382,000 long guns were stolen in noncommercial thefts that year, for a total of 593,000 stolen firearms.”

 

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Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

Friday, December 7, 2018

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

On December 5th, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group backed by out-of-state elites, announced it will pursue its most extreme anti-gun legislative agenda to date during the upcoming 2019 Washington Legislative Session.

More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

In a November 30 tweet, Tom Arnold, famous for being married to Roseanne Barr and making a few really bad movies, has proven that he knows nothing about guns, gun owners or firearm misuse.

Guns and Taxes

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Guns and Taxes

David Hogg wants a federal tax on firearms and ammunition. He has repeatedly broached the idea, including multiple times on Twitter, and only sometimes suggests a use for the tax revenue. Hogg’s tweets on a ...

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

The U.S.’s republican form of governance is predicated on co-equal branches of government that check and balance each other in order to preserve individual liberty. The system does not work when one branch simply ignores ...

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

As we’ve noted recently, much research purporting to demonstrate connections between access to guns or right-to-carry laws and increases in crime is seriously flawed.  Often it's an attempt to curtail or eliminate Americans’ rights under the Second ...

Warning to New Mexico Gun Owners: Expect Unprecedented Attacks On Your Second Amendment Rights During The 2019 Legislative Session

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Warning to New Mexico Gun Owners: Expect Unprecedented Attacks On Your Second Amendment Rights During The 2019 Legislative Session

While the New Mexico Legislature will not convene for its 60-day Regular Session until January 15, lawmakers can start prefiling bills on December 17. 

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Engineering Professor Shares Thoughts on Constitutional Law, Calls for Handgun Ban

News  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Engineering Professor Shares Thoughts on Constitutional Law, Calls for Handgun Ban

In a recent piece for the Bangor Daily News ironically titled, “Why banning handguns makes sense,” Associate University of Maine Electrical Engineering Professor George Elliott struggled to argue why the tools of self-defense have no ...

Anti-Gun Researchers Undermine the Anti-Gun Narrative

News  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Anti-Gun Researchers Undermine the Anti-Gun Narrative

We have good news from a joint effort between the Violence Prevention Research Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins University.  

Retired Anti-Gun Justice Reveals Attempts to Thwart Landmark Heller Decision

News  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Retired Anti-Gun Justice Reveals Attempts to Thwart Landmark Heller Decision

Few Supreme Court justices have been as avowedly opposed to the Second Amendment as John Paul Stevens, who retired from the high court in June 2010. Stevens wrote a lengthy dissent to the landmark decision ...

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.