TTAG reader DonS takes a look at Colorado’s “universal background check” stats:
Prior to 31 March 2001, Colorado was like most other states in that private party transfers (PPTs) did not require background checks. From 31 March 2001 through 30 June 2013, all transfers at gun shows required background checks, whether the transferor was an FFL or not. That is, PPTs at gun shows now require a background check. C.R.S. 12-26.1-101
On 1 July 2013, Colorado’s “universal background check” law became effective. With very few exceptions (e.g. bona fide gifts between certain family members, some loans, etc.) all transfers must go through an FFL and are subject to a background check. C.R.S. 18-12-112
In Colorado, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the “point of contact” for BCs. Since July 2013, the CBI has kept a monthly tally of how many transfers were “FFL sales” (transfers out of an FFL’s own stock that would be subject to a BC by federal law) vs “private sales” (transfers between non-FFLs that only require a BC due to state law). “Private sales” include those at gun shows that were covered by the 2001 law.
From 1 July 2013 through 30 Nov 2016 (the last month for which data is available), the CBI processed 1,173,154 transactions through their InstaCheck unit. “FFL sales” accounted for 1,116,491 transactions. The remaining 56,663 transactions were “private sales”.
In Colorado over the last three and a half years, only 4.83% of transfers have been PPTs that, under federal law, would not have required a background check.
Why does CO’s data differ so wildly from the “40%” number [quoted by gun control advocates]? I can think of a few possibilities:
1. People aren’t obeying the law
2. PPTs have plummeted in CO since July 2013
3. Most PPTs in CO are intra-familial gifts that are exempt from the new law
4. The “40%” number is utter nonsense
My money’s on some combination of these, with #4 accounting for most of the discrepancy.