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KEEPING GUNS OUT OF THE WRONG HANDS
A Report

10/26/05

National Instant Criminal Background Check System SealA person walks into a store, shops around for a while, then comes up to the counter and says to the cashier, "I'd like to buy that sweet S&W 639/39 9mm." The cashier smiles and says, "Great, may I see some identification, please?"...and then runs a "background check" right there, on the spot, to make sure that person doesn't have a criminal record or isn't otherwise ineligible to buy that gun.

Have you seen our new report on how well and how quickly these prospective gun/explosives buyers are vetted before a sale takes place? It's called The National Instant Criminal Background Check System Operational Report, 2003-2004, and we think you'll find it fascinating reading.

For example, can you answer these four questions:

  • How many background checks have been performed on gun buyers since the program began in November 1998?
  • How many background checks have been performed on people trying to buy explosives since the program began in 2002?
  • How many "ineligible" people are now in the system?
  • How many people have been DENIED the purchase of guns since 1998?

The numbers should get your attention:

  • Over 53 MILLION background checks on gun buyers have been performed from 1998-2004. (Nearly 60 million as of 9/30/05.)
  • Over 65,000 background checks on explosives buyers have been performed from 2002-2004. (Nearly 100,000 as of 9/30/05.)
  • Some 3.9 MILLION ineligible people are in the system, so that if they try to buy a gun, they will not be able to.
  • From 1998-2004, some 400,000 people have been denied the purchase of firearms by the FBI alone, not counting the denials processed by state and local agencies that conduct their own background checks. (Some 450,000 as of 9/30/05.)

But it's the cases that tell the real story. We'd like to tell you the result of just one single background check—it happened to be our 50 millionth background check on September 20, 2004—before sending you off to delve into the report itself.

That day in September, a licensed firearms dealer in Texas called in a prospective sale to our examiner only to discover that the buyer validly matched the subject of a criminal warrant issued for aggravated assault. Our examiner immediately contacted the local sheriff's office that had issued the warrant and was told the warrant was active—in fact, the subject had been arrested on charges that included kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. SALE DENIED...and the man was re-arrested by the local county sheriff's office. That's what we mean by Keeping Guns Out of the Wrong Hands.

Resources: The National Instant Criminal Background Check System