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Monday, October 31, 2016

Few Private Sellers Taking Advantage of Voluntary Background Checks at Gun Shows

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that since the new law that took affect on July 1 allowing state police to conduct background checks for privates sellers who wish to check out their prospective buyer, only 21 people have used the service, most in Northern Virginia gun shows:
At gun shows across the state from July 9 to Oct. 23, 21 private sellers opted for the checks.

None of those checks resulted in a transaction being denied because the buyer was a person prohibited from buying a firearm, such as a felon, a person convicted of domestic violence, or someone who had been committed involuntarily to a mental health facility, according to data from the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center, operated by Virginia State Police.

By comparison, 12,606 mandatory background checks were performed by federally licensed firearms dealers at the 23 shows, and 110 of those people were denied the purchase of a weapon, the transaction center said.
Now, you can look at this news two ways, either there aren't that many people interested in doing background checks, or, and this is what I think is more likely, guns shows never were a huge "bazaar" for private individuals selling hundreds of firearms skirting the watchful eye of background checks.

Of course, the gun ban lobby is not satisfied with voluntary checks, sticking to their talking points, saying you will only start catching people who shouldn't have a gun when the checks are mandatory:
“The fact that there have been no denials, in this small sample of sales, is also something that would be expected, since the buyer has obviously agreed to be checked, which would self-select people with clean backgrounds,” Goddard said.

“It will only be when these checks are mandatory, or take place on a large scale, that we are likely to see denials. Voluntary compliance is not the way to effectively stop sales between private seller and ineligible buyers.”
But here is the important quote from the story by Mike Matthews, senior supervisor in the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center, that confirms what I said above:
Matthews said the percentage of private firearms sales at gun shows is smaller than many people might think.

He estimated that perhaps 15 to 20 private sales occur on average at a weekend gun show over two days out of 600 to 800 total transactions — the great majority of which are conducted by licensed dealers who are required to perform background checks.

“This is just an estimate of me walking around the show and what I see,” Matthews said. “I don’t think the number is as big as people make it out to be.”
Really puts the lie to the "40% of gun sales don't go through a background check" garbage the gun ban lobby and President Obama often use.

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