Universal Background Checks & the “Private” Sale Loophole Policy Summary

Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence, September 10, 2015

Background

The most dangerous gap in federal firearms laws today is the “private sale” loophole. Although federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks on prospective purchasers and maintain records of all gun sales, it does not require unlicensed “private” sellers to do so. An estimated 40% of all firearms transferred in the U.S. are transferred by unlicensed individuals.

According the U.S. Department of Justice, because federal law does not require universal background checks, “individuals prohibited by law from possessing guns can easily obtain them from private sellers and do so without any federal records of the transactions.” “The private-party gun market,” one study observed, “has long been recognized as a leading source of guns used in crimes.” Although the private sale loophole is frequently referred to as the “gun show” loophole (because of the particular problems associated with gun shows), it applies to all private firearm sales, regardless of where they occur.

The growth of the Internet has significantly increased the ability of individuals prohibited from possessing firearms to find sellers willing to transfer firearms to them without background checks….

read more and see footnotes at Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence

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