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Gun Sales and Background Checks: Obama’s Bogus 40 Percent Stat
National Review Online ^ | January 17, 2013 | John Fund

Posted on 01/17/2013 11:00:44 AM PST by neverdem

Of all the gun-control measures touted by President Obama on Wednesday, the one that got top billing was a dramatic tightening of background checks on gun purchasers. Obama himself said the need was urgent because “40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.” But before we make the most sweeping changes in federal firearms law since the 1960s, shouldn’t we at least examine the validity of that figure? It’s about as dubious as they come.

The administration is focusing on background checks in an attempt to drive a wedge between staunch anti-gun-control absolutists such as the National Rifle Association and the average gun owner. Background checks are easily the most popular proposal out there. A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows the public closely divided on banning “assault weapons,” but 85 percent of those surveyed supported universal background checks. “If you look at the combination of likelihood of passage and effectiveness of curbing gun crime, universal background checks is at the sweet spot,” New York senator Chuck Schumer told reporters this week.

Most advocates of gun control believe the “loopholes” in federal law are the rule and not the exception when it comes to gun purchases. A 2011 study by the office of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed that “40 percent of guns are sold through private sellers.” His study went on to says “these sales — which take place in many venues, including gun shows and, increasingly, on the internet . . . fuel the black market for illegal guns.”

Current federal law requires anyone who is “engaged in the business” of selling guns to get a license and have any sales go through law-enforcement background checks — whether those sales occur in a shop or in a gun show. If a gun is sold over the Internet, a background check is mandatory. As Breitbart News reported: “If a resident of Denver bought a gun from a store in Tampa, the (licensee) in Tampa would send the gun to (a licensee) in Denver. Once it arrived, the buyer would pay a fee for shipping, taxes on the gun, as well as any mark-up for services. He would also have to submit to a back-ground check just as if he had bought the gun off a shelf in Denver.” In all cases, sales are denied if the person attempting to buy a gun has a felony conviction or, in many cases, a misdemeanor conviction, or if he has a history of mental illness.

The guns that Obama, Bloomberg, and others claim escape background checks are those sold or transferred between private parties. But can that number really be 40 percent?

The dubious statistic of guns that avoided background checks — which is actually 36 percent — comes from a small 251-person survey on gun sales two decades ago, very early in the Clinton administration. Most of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks in early 1994.

If that alone didn’t make the number invalid, the federal survey simply asked buyers if they thought they were buying from a licensed firearms dealer. While all Federal Firearm Licensees do background checks, only those perceived as being FFLs were counted. Yet, there is much evidence that survey respondents who went to the smallest FFLs, especially the “kitchen table” types, had no idea that the dealer was actually “licensed.” Many buyers seemed to think that only “brick and mortar” stores were licensed dealers, and so the survey underestimating the number of sales covered by the checks.

Another reason for the high number is that it includes guns transferred as inheritances or as gifts from family members. Even President Obama’s background proposal excludes almost all of those transfers.

If you look at guns that were bought, traded, borrowed, rented, issued as a requirement of the job, or won through raffles, 85 percent went through Federal Firearm Licensees and would have been subject to a background check. Only 15 percent would have been transferred without a background check. 

Economist John Lott, the author of several landmark studies on the real-world impact of gun control, has concluded that if you take out transfers of guns either between FFLs or between family members, the remaining number of transfers falls to about 10 percent. Those were the numbers from two decades ago. “We don’t know the precise number today, but it is hard to believe that it is above single digits,” he told me.

Lott says that before any universal background system is passed, flaws in the current system should be fixed. If they aren’t they could lead to “unforeseen” tragedies that would outweigh the benefits of any expanded background-check system.

Lott notes that 8 percent of background checks are initially denied, with almost all of the delays until they are finally approved taking three days or longer. When the reviews were finally finished, 94 percent of “initial delays” were dropped because they were cases of mistaken identity.

Delays are undoubtedly just an inconvenience for most people buying guns. But for a few, such as those in imminent fear of a stalker or others who suddenly need a gun for self-defense, universal-background-check laws could prevent them from defending themselves against assailants.

Lott says his research suggests that expanding background checks “might actually contribute to a slight net increase in violent crime, particularly rapes.” Before we expand background checks he suggests we focus on the real-world statistics, not Obama’s “magical” number, and recognize that criminals are seldom burdened by background checks because they buy weapons on the black market. As for gun bans, they do little to combat crime. When guns were banned in Washington, D.C., or Chicago, the rate of violent crime went up. Even in island nations such as Great Britain, Ireland, and Jamaica, murder rates went up after gun bans were put in place.

And as for background checks, even the most vigorously policed would have done nothing to stop the killers at Newtown or the theater in Aurora, Colo. Adam Lanza stole his guns from his mother’s storage locker after murdering her, and Joseph Holmes’ problems with mental illness were not reported to authorities by his psychologist.

Lott says that it may well be that expanded background checks are reasonable, but only if flaws and delays with the current system are addressed and a cost/benefit analysis is conducted. As he says “passing gun-control laws may make people feel better, but they can actually prevent people from defending themselves.”

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 40; background; backgroundchecks; banglist; bho44; bhobanglist; checks; demlies; fund; guncontrol; johnfund; loophole; obamabs; obamagunpresser; obamalies; partisanmediashills; secondamendment

1 posted on 01/17/2013 11:00:49 AM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Anything Obama says is Dubious, and most things are just plain Lies.

The CS’er makes up his mind to do something and then pulls figures out of his butt to support them. Hard to get them out of his butt too since so many are lined up kissing it.

I believe Chuck Schumer has a standing reservation to kiss Obama’s butt twice a week, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are there every day.

2 posted on 01/17/2013 11:06:48 AM PST by Venturer
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To: neverdem

I am not very surprised about the bogus stats. The blue lipped homosexual that lives in the White house lies about pretty much everything.

3 posted on 01/17/2013 11:08:06 AM PST by jospehm20
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To: neverdem
The irony is that the more Obama pushes for background checks and registration, the more people will purchase without checks and try to purchase weapons in other markets.

The vast majority of murders by using a gun are not committed by law abiding individuals. Nor would a background check deter or stop such shootings. .

4 posted on 01/17/2013 11:09:41 AM PST by Theoria
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To: neverdem
Universal background checks were likely the real goal all along.

Shotgun 23 meaningless EOs served with a large dose of fear, and the sheeple reflexively say "Oh, this isn't too bad."

Had the Kenyan gone straight for universal background checks, he would've been stopped cold.

Let that sink in.

This was the prize, and the good guys are capitulating.

Universal background checks are THE way to create registration, confiscation and ultimately total tyranny.

5 posted on 01/17/2013 11:13:10 AM PST by JOAT
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To: neverdem
Obama can pass all the laws he wants but I can guarandamntee you that in the rural parts of the country, Billy Bob is NOT going to go have a background check done every time he sells or trades a gun to his ol’ shooting buddy Joe Bob, no matter what the law says. If anything at all changes, Billy Bob and Joe Bob will just back date a receipt before the new law went into effect in case they get any static from the feds.
6 posted on 01/17/2013 11:13:57 AM PST by apillar
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To: neverdem

History will show that almost every time Obama speaks in public, something he says is a lie.

There might be occasions when he is ignorant of that fact, as when his handlers put the lie in his mouth and he does not really know the facts, and occasions when he is depending on his listners to be ignorant of the lie, and he knows its a lie. The totality of the lies is likely a combination of both.

7 posted on 01/17/2013 11:14:56 AM PST by Wuli
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To: neverdem

There is no way for Obama, the ATF or anyone else to know how many gun sales take place legally where background checks are not required.

The 40% number Obama states is something made up out of thin air like his unemployment figures, his birth certificate and everything else about him.

8 posted on 01/17/2013 11:19:19 AM PST by Iron Munro (I Miss America, don't you?)
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To: jospehm20

Gun control is like trying to reduce drunk driving by making it tougher for sober people to own cars.

9 posted on 01/17/2013 11:23:32 AM PST by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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To: neverdem

My copy of the Constitution must be a misprint. I can’t find the part where it says “The right of the people to keep and bear arms of some types,but not others,only after background checks,registrations,and permits,may (or may not) be allowed.

10 posted on 01/17/2013 11:24:41 AM PST by shooter223 (the government should fear the citizens......not the other way around)
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To: neverdem
I wonder if Broncho Bamma would be will to submit to a background check.

if a background check is required to purchase a firearm. I really think one should be required to be President and have your finger on the nuclear trigger.

11 posted on 01/17/2013 11:52:03 AM PST by Tupelo (Hunkered down & loading up)
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To: shooter223

A background check is as good as registration. Why else would you need one?

I think they should have it like drivers licenses. If you want a gun you have to take a class on safety, storage and the laws for your area. You would then be issued a firearms license.

When you go to a gun dealer he would then run your license to see if it is clean. Having the license would not tie you to a particular gun just like you can have a drivers license without ever owning a car.

The license would also be your copncealed carry permit. All states should honor each others weapons licenses.

12 posted on 01/17/2013 12:00:05 PM PST by USAF80
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To: USAF80

My point was,the Constitution does not say any such thing. In fact it says just the opposite. “Shall not be infringed” means it is none of the government’s business whether you or I or anyone has arms or not.

13 posted on 01/17/2013 12:13:13 PM PST by shooter223 (the government should fear the citizens......not the other way around)
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To: Tupelo
I really think one should be required to be President and have your finger on the nuclear trigger.

Won't ever happen, but it should. A thorough background check would reveal his real place of birth (hint, it ain't the USA) thus making him Constitutionally ineligible to be president.

It's always seemed odd to me that his grandmother passed away not long after she told a reporter that both of her grandsons were born in Kenya. You would think the media would have picked up her remarks and made them public, but I guess that wasn't considered newsworthy.

14 posted on 01/17/2013 12:31:50 PM PST by epow (The way of the cross leads home)
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To: neverdem

Bogus, LIES, whatever. And yet 47% seem to enjoy swallowing thoses LIES like a whore swallowing s****.

15 posted on 01/17/2013 12:46:04 PM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: neverdem

Before we expand background checks he suggests we focus on the real-world statistics, not 0bama’s “magical” number,

78.3 percent of statistics are made up on the spot.

16 posted on 01/17/2013 1:16:02 PM PST by Peet (Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei. (Monroe in "Grimm"))
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To: neverdem
Here's an idea for Barry. Oh and for his Homie, Eric 'MY PEOPLE' Holder too. It'll reduce 'gun violence' and be 'for the children'. Declare a Federal.....
Gang-Banger Amnesty Gun Registration Day

Cops and ATF can jointly set up mobile trailers every Eight Blocks in 'Da Hood' where bangers can go and (cough) 'legally register' their Glocks and S&Ws, MAC-10s, 'Choppers' (AK-47s and SKSs), and Sawed-Off Shotguns. Just providing the typical stuff like Make, model, caliber, and serial number(/s). Where they (cough) 'bought' them [Da Street, yo], from whom [my Homie Jamal sumptin], and when [Ize forgot, yo}. All without fear of arrest and confiscation [or future PO-leece harassment].

They would have to pay a nominal registration fee, payable with an EBT Card if daze beeze poor. And pay sales tax when a state sends them a tax bill to their (cough) 'registered address'. Though this tax could be offset by any Earned Income or Child Credits they're "owed".

And so they're not inconvenienced soft drinks and Happy Meals will be provided. And the hours would be say from ... 10:00am to 11:30pm. There'd also be one Spanish Translator at each Registration Site. And like with VOTING, no ID would be required. We'd just 'trust them'.

And last but not least: FREE trigger locks will be provided.

I think it'd be a big success and would really, really, REALLY, reduce 'gun violence' .
17 posted on 01/17/2013 1:19:52 PM PST by Condor51 (Si vis pacem, para bellum.)
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To: neverdem

Bookmarking for later.

18 posted on 01/17/2013 1:49:26 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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