Gun sold without background checks far lower than estimated by anti-gun lobby
The share of Americans who obtained a gun without first undergoing a background check is dramatically lower than previous estimates, researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities have determined. The finding re-shapes one of the most prominent assumptions of the US gun control debate.Other surveys found that people who buy guns to commit crimes usually buy them from someone other than a dealer. They also do not buy them under the alleged "gun show loophole" either since a dealer at a gun show would also have to run a background check.
Just 22% of current gun owners who acquired a firearm within the past two years did so without a background check, according to a new national survey by public health researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities shared in advance with the Trace and the Guardian.
For years, politicians and researchers have estimated that as many as 40% of gun sales are conducted without a background check – a statistic based on an extrapolation from a 1994 survey. Gun rights activists had decried that estimate as outdated and inaccurate.
The new survey, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the current proportion of gun sales conducted without a background check is about half of the figure cited by prominent Democratic gun control advocates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.