WILLFUL IGNORANCE: Gun Control Lobby Continues to Ignore Facts About Background Checks

Published on March 7, 2014

Chris Cox, Executive Director, NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action
The Brady Campaign’s recent report that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has “stopped more than 2.1 million would-be gun purchases” sure sounds impressive – only it isn’t true.

The fact is the vast majority of the 2.1 million people flagged by NICS are either legitimate purchasers who are snagged by mistake, or criminals who are then turned loose to obtain firearms elsewhere, rather than being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

For example, in 2010, only 62 out of 72,659 NICS denials led to prosecutions by the federal government – and only 13 of those prosecutions resulted in a conviction. That’s .0001 percent.

According to Vice-President Joe Biden, the reason for the Obama administration’s near-total lack of enforcement is that “we simply don’t have the time or the manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately.” If that’s the case, then what’s the point of the check? Does the administration think a determined criminal will give up a life of crime after a NICS denial?

Moreover, the Brady Campaign is being intentionally deceitful by claiming “40 percent” of gun purchases are conducted without a background check. You won’t read this in their misleading report, but even the notoriously anti-gun Washington Post debunked their “40 percent” whopper, giving it a rating of “3 Pinocchios” for dishonesty. That’s because this statistic comes from a 251-person survey conducted nearly two decades ago, in which more than three-quarters of the firearm sales covered in the survey occurred before background checks were mandated by federal law.

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