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January 17, 2013

Shock: "40% of Gun Sales Aren't Subject to a Background Check" Figure Cited by Obama is Crank

I cited the 40% number too, in comments. I fell for it.

First of all, the figure comes from a Bloomberg study-- which is already a mark against its credibility.

Second of all, the 40% figure they cite doesn't even apply to all gun sales, but rather gun re-sales. Thus, 40% doesn't apply to all guns, new and old, but only to the old category.

Furthermore:

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....


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.


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posted by Ace at 01:10 PM

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