“The share of background checks the FBI never completes has ticked up slowly since 2014, the first year on record, when it processed 8,256,688 checks and didn’t complete 172,879, or just under 2.1 percent.
But by 2019, the bureau was failing to complete about 2.5 percent of the background checks it processed, and it didn’t finish almost 3.4 percent in the first nine months of 2020.
Those numbers only include gun background checks run by the FBI, so they don’t count the 20 states that process some or all background checks themselves. It’s also important to remember that the number of background checks isn’t the same as the number of guns sold — many are also run when people apply for gun permits, for example, or when states check on the status of gun permit holders. A single background check can also represent multiple gun sales.”
“The FBI responds to most gun background checks with an immediate “yes” or “no.” But sometimes, it has to delay the check to do more research because its records are incomplete. After three business days, the dealer can sell the gun anyway. Many, including large chains like Walmart, choose not to. But ones that do don’t have to tell the FBI about it.
In an average year, almost 275,000 background checks take longer than three business days. In 2020, there were 535,786 such checks, according to FBI data. That number doesn’t include background checks for things like concealed-carry permits or explosives licenses, which aren’t subject to the three-business-day rule.”
“after 90 days, the bureau’s regulations require it to stop work and delete the background check from its computers. To make sure it doesn’t violate that policy, the bureau actually deletes unfinished background checks on day 88 just to be safe.
In the first nine months of 2020, the FBI deleted 316,912 unfinished background checks — 3.4 percent of all the checks it processed. In an average year, it deletes about 202,000. Again, this only includes background checks that are subject to the three-business-day rule.
If the FBI discovers that the potential buyer can’t own a gun in between day three and day 88, it contacts the dealer to see if the sale went through anyway. If it did, the FBI asks the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (the ATF) to retrieve the weapon.
Between 2014 and 2019, there were on average at least 3,800 of these so-called “delayed denial” sales annually, according to ATF data obtained by the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. But there were at least 5,807 in all of 2020, according to the ATF data — the most since 2006, the first complete year on record.”
“Asked why it didn’t finish so many background checks in 2020, the FBI said in a statement that it “depends on the availability of relevant information and records provided by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies.” The bureau also said that it has “reallocated resources to help ensure that it can continue processing background checks efficiently.”
Gun sales have surged since April 2020, thanks, at least in part, to the pandemic, protests last summer for racial justice and the election of President Biden in November. The FBI data shows how the background check system has struggled to keep up. And, at this point, it’s unclear when the problem is going to get better.”
“Due process protections are especially important when the government contemplates taking away someone’s constitutional rights based on inherently iffy predictions about what he might otherwise do. The risk that someone will use a firearm to kill himself or others, however small, is apt to loom larger in the minds of judges than the risk that he will unjustly but temporarily lose his Second Amendment rights. Given that reality, legislators have an obligation to make sure that red flag respondents have ample opportunity to challenge the claim that they cannot be trusted with firearms.”
“the evidence on the effects of universal background checks and assault weapons bans is pretty weak. Several studies in recent years have found that universal background checks, at least on their own, don’t seem to have a big effect on gun deaths. Similarly, the research on assault weapons bans, including the national ban that Biden helped pass in 1994, found they have little effect on gun violence, largely because the vast majority of such violence is committed with handguns.
But there’s some solid evidence that a license system reduces gun deaths. A 2018 study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that universal background checks alone correlated with more gun homicides in urban counties, while license systems were associated with fewer gun homicides. Other studies have similarly found that license requirements lead to fewer gun deaths.”
“In Massachusetts, one of the few states with a license system, obtaining a permit requires going through a multi-step process involving interviews with police, background checks, a gun safety training course, and more. Even if a person passes all of that, the local police chief can deny an application anyway. That creates more points at which an applicant can be identified as too dangerous to own a gun; it makes getting and owning a gun harder.”
“a legal doctrine known as anti-commandeering, which has been upheld in five Supreme Court cases from 1842 to 2018. It holds that the federal government can’t require states and localities to participate in the enforcement of federal laws.”
“What good is an AR-15 against an oppressive government armed with tanks and bombers? That’s the question gun owners often get asked, as if the destructive power of the modern state is a mic-drop argument against private weapons ownership. That might be a bit more convincing if resistance fighters didn’t repeatedly go up against well-armed troops with whatever weapons they can make or scavenge in hopes of gaining breathing room and forcing change. Sometimes, they even win, and their chances would undoubtedly be better if they had better tools at hand to begin with.”
“Despite endorsement for resistance efforts from the pro-democracy shadow government facing off against the ruling junta, Reuters emphasized that a loosely organized group “[a]rmed with a few hunting guns made by village blacksmiths, catapults, some airguns and Molotov cocktails … were no match for forces hardened by decades of conflict and equipped with combat weapons.”
But, despite the paucity of their arms and training, the fighters gave government forces a day-long battle. They had to turn, at least for the time being, to makeshift weapons because the regime spent years trying to keep the population disarmed so that it wouldn’t have to face serious resistance.
“In Myanmar, civilians are not allowed to possess any firearms,” notes the University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org.”
“People who attempt suicide with a gun die nine times out of 10, whereas other common means (such as cutting and overdose) are much more survivable. That’s why the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (New York SAFE Act) directed mental health professionals to report suicidal patients to a state agency, which could subsequently seize any guns they might own, and add their name to a “no buy” database for five years. Even in New York, though, this provision is controversial and has faced repeated court challenges. We shouldn’t expect to see similar legislation proliferating across the country anytime soon.
Instead, suicide prevention activists have been trying to cultivate a culture of community responsibility among gun owners, asking them to reach out to friends in crisis with an offer to store their guns after a divorce, job loss, death in the family or other trauma. The idea of letting your neighbor or your hunting buddy lock your gun up in his safe for a while might be more palatable than handing it over to the sheriff. Suicide prevention groups have partnered with gun shops and shooting ranges, first in New Hampshire and now in 11 other states, to spread the idea through posters and pamphlets.”
“Many states have gradually lowered the bar to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in public places. The trends have been toward fewer hours of classroom instruction (reduced in some cases to zero), eliminating shooting requirements at the range, and lowering fees. Tennessee now offers a gun carry permit course that can be completed entirely online. Other states, such as Kansas, have eliminated licensure altogether. When Texas lowered training standards for its concealed handgun license in 2013 to just four hours of classroom instruction, lawmakers said that there simply wasn’t enough material to justify the 10 hours previously required. Typical curriculum covers operation of a firearm and some guidance about where and when it might be appropriate to use it. Some gun violence prevention advocates would like to see the curriculum expanded to include strategies in de-escalation, risk avoidance, safe storage and first aid.”
“The fundamental reality about the US gun problem is that it’s a function of how many guns Americans have. Heavily reducing that stockpile may be the only way to significantly reduce America’s out of control gun deaths”
“”Gun control policies that don’t confront the core issue — that America simply has too many guns — are doomed to merely nibble around the edges. Everywhere in the world, people get into arguments. Every country has residents who are dangerous to themselves or others because of mental illness. Every country has bigots and extremists. But here, it’s uniquely easy for a person to obtain a gun, letting otherwise tense but nonlethal conflicts escalate into deadly violence.””
“Roughly 39,000 Americans die from guns every year. Mass shootings draw attention to this problem, but everyday suicides and violent confrontations that unnecessarily escalate to homicide due to the easy availability of guns are the norm in the United States. If policymakers are serious about changing this, dramatically reducing the number of guns is the path forward.”