After the Sandy Hook school shooting, the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex pushed for “universal background checks” (UBCs). The antis argued that Uncle Sam needed to make all gun sales and transfers subject to the FBI background check process because . . .
forty percent of all gun sales did NOT involve a background check. Millions of gun sales with no questions asked! At gun shows! Over the Internet! Criminals getting guns! Something must be done!
[NB: The Sandy Hook killer obtained his firearms by shooting his mother in the head — a woman whose gun purchases had been subjected to FBI background checks.]
The 40 percent stat — repeated ad nauseam during the federal “debate” over UBCs — was based on a gun owners’ survey performed in 1994. It was misleading in the extreme. A fact that politifact.com noted when Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe cited the stat in 2015 to justify UBCs in the Old Dominion.
Despite Politifact’s left-leaning anti-gun animus, they rated McAuliffe’s citation mostly false — given that the study data included firearms given as gifts or inheritances, not just those sold.
A brace of researchers researching the red herring recently repeated the research. The survey says . . .
Researchers Matthew Miller, Lisa Hepburn, and Deborah Azrael published a study in the January 2017 edition of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine that was specifically undertaken to update the 1994 data.
The researchers asked 1,613 adult gun owners where and when they acquired their last firearm, including whether it was purchased, and whether they had either a background check or were asked to show a firearm license or permit.
The answer: 22 percent obtained their gun without a background check. That’s barely half of the 40 percent figure that has gained wide currency for more than two decades.
The study doesn’t reveal how many of those 22 percent of non-NICS firearms transactions were gifts or inheritances, or how many were sold to relatives of friends of the original owner.
Anyway, ding-dong the wicked stat is dead! Even ignoring the low number of gun owners surveyed and the researchers own admission that there are “potential inaccuracies [in the study] due to recall and social desirability bias.”
politifact.com now rates the “40 percent of gun sales do not involve a background check” claim FALSE.
Of course, no mention is made by anyone involved that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits any government background check for any firearms sale of transfer. True!