Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Background Checks: No Impact on Criminals

Friday, January 11, 2019

Background Checks: No Impact on Criminals

We have seen a generation of gun-grabbers rise and fall. The new generation of gun-grabbers are pushing for the same tired and baseless policies that won’t so much as inconvenience criminals. We understand the emotional response to violence and the desire to “do something.”

But that “something” has to be the right thing, a policy that will be effective on the target population and is backed by sound evidence. To design a policy that will stop criminals from getting guns, the first step should be to find out where criminals get guns.

Fortunately, the Bureau of Justice Statistics within the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice just this week released a report that provides this very information. The report is the “Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016” and its findings are quite clear.   

More than one in five prisoners in state or federal prisons (20.8%) possessed or used a firearm during their crime; 18.4% had or used a handgun.

A plurality – 43.2% - got their guns off the street or on the underground market which does not include gun shows, flea markets, or private sales. The underground market only includes “markets for stolen goods, middlemen for stolen goods, criminals or criminal enterprises, or individuals or groups involved in sales of illegal drugs.”

About ten percent (10.1%) acquired the gun from a retail source. This includes 8.2% whom acquired it from a licensed dealer at a retail source. Just under 7% bought the firearm under their own name and then at least 6.7% underwent a background check; we say “at least” because some number of prisoners are unaware if a check was conducted. The remaining 3.3% includes people who may not be aware they were submitted to a check because, for many people, the check is completed instantly. As you know, federal law requires firearms dealers to conduct background checks.

A quarter (25.3%) of prisoners acquired the firearm they had at the time of their crime from an individual; 14.5% of these bought, traded, borrowed, or rented the gun from a family member or friend. The other 10.8% were given the firearm as a gift or it was purchased for the prisoner.

That sounds like it likely includes straw purchases, which are a federal crime.

Theft was not uncommon, at 6.4%, though not as common as anti-gun organizations would have you believe.

The remaining 17.4% cited some other source; 6.9% found it at the scene of the crime or it was the victim’s, 4.6% say the gun was brought by someone else, and 5.9% from “other” sources. This last category is a catch-all, including sources that are different from all of the other sources listed in the report. It is important to note that none of the types of “other” sources had enough responses to warrant their own category.

In other words, there weren’t enough prisoners saying they bought a gun online or from a stranger to categorize these straw-man arguments into categories. Some quick, back of the envelope math shows that just under 5,200 prisoners surveyed reported having a gun during their criminal offense.

How would so-called universal background checks impact any of these categories?

First, you have to rule out the retail purchases because most already underwent a background check. You would also have to concede that those who obtained the firearm from a family member or friend wouldn’t be affected, because of the exemptions in so-called universal background checks laws for family members and… well, come on. If someone is going to give a known criminal a gun, then they’re not going to change their minds because of a law. It’s already a crime to knowingly give a gun to a prohibited person.

Sellers on the underground market aren’t going to start running background checks because they are, themselves, criminals. Burglars won’t stop burgling to get a background check run on the firearms they’re stealing.

Criminals who somehow manage find a gun at the scene of the crime through no action of their own wouldn’t be affected by a background check.

So, please, tell us: which source of firearms for criminals will dry up under so-called universal background checks?

Unless drug dealers and purveyors of stolen goods set up shop with clipboards, log books, and internet access to run background checks, criminals will still have a source of illegal guns.

Oh, and don’t forget that universal background checks don’t work.

IN THIS ARTICLE
crime Background checks
TRENDING NOW
H.R. 8 Markup: Liberal Democrats Markup Gun Control Legislation

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

H.R. 8 Markup: Liberal Democrats Markup Gun Control Legislation

The Nancy Pelosi Speaker Era 2.0 continued on Wednesday, Feb. 13, with a markup of H.R 8, the “universal” background checks bill, in the House Judiciary Committee. Following on the heels of last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing, the same committee held a markup on ...

Another Study Blames Guns, Excludes Reality

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Another Study Blames Guns, Excludes Reality

A study published in Preventative Medicine by Yu Lu and Jeff R. Temple concludes that “the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. Instead, access to firearms was the primary culprit.”

Turning a Right into a Privilege: HR 1112 Gives Feds Unfettered Power to Block Gun Sales

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Turning a Right into a Privilege: HR 1112 Gives Feds Unfettered Power to Block Gun Sales

H.R. 8, which would criminalize the private transfer of firearms, has received significant attention from the gun rights community. However, H.R. 1112, which purportedly targets the inappropriately-named “Charleston loophole,” is just as insidious an attack ...

Polls: No Lasting Support for Gun Control One Year After Parkland

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Polls: No Lasting Support for Gun Control One Year After Parkland

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the terrible crimes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. It was a somber occasion, but some media outlets couldn’t contain their glee this week that ...

Washington: Hearing for Bill to Expand Gun Seizures Without Due Process

Monday, February 18, 2019

Washington: Hearing for Bill to Expand Gun Seizures Without Due Process

On February 19th, the Washington state Senate Committee on Law & Justice will be holding an executive session on Senate Bill 5745 to expand the circumstances under which Second Amendment rights may be revoked without ...

Indiana: Self-Defense Bill Passes House, On To Senate

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Indiana: Self-Defense Bill Passes House, On To Senate

On February 11th, the Indiana state House of Representatives voted 80-13 to pass House Bill 1284 to enhance protections afforded to law-abiding citizens acting in defense of themselves and others.  HB 1284 will now go to the ...

Illinois: Gun Tax Legislation Introduced

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Illinois: Gun Tax Legislation Introduced

On February 11th, legislation was introduced (HB 2331) in the Illinois House that would impose a new gun tax on all firearms and firearm components sold in Illinois. 

Washington: Magazine Ban & Firearm Seizure Bills Pass Committee

Friday, February 1, 2019

Washington: Magazine Ban & Firearm Seizure Bills Pass Committee

During the executive session on February 1st, the Washington state House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary voted to pass House Bill 1068 to ban many standard capacity ammunition magazines and House Bill 1225 for firearm ...

House to Move Forward with Ineffective Gun Control Proposals

News  

Friday, February 8, 2019

House to Move Forward with Ineffective Gun Control Proposals

On Wednesday, gun owners got to see what a Nancy Pelosi controlled Congress looks like as the House Judiciary Committee held its first gun control hearing in nearly a decade. Things went as one would ...

Arizona state flag

Friday, February 15, 2019

Arizona: Committee to Hear School Pick-up/Drop-off Bill

On Wednesday, February 20th at 9:00AM, the Arizona state House Committee on Public Safety will be hearing House Bill 2693 to improve the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families by reducing arbitrary ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.