Gun Truth: Background Checks

Published January 28, 2013

John Lott is the author of the book “More Guns, Less Crime,” which revealed the truth about the importance of gun use for self defense. He forever transformed the debate by proving the value of guns for self defense.

Now he’s done it again.

Writing on the National Review website, Lott has shredded the claims of gun control advocates about the lack of gun control background checks at gun shows.

The claim is that we need to close the “gun show” loophole because up to 40 percent of guns are sold at such shows happen without checks on the backgrounds of the buyers. A huge loophole, it is said. Currently, those who buy guns from federally-licensed gun dealers are subject to these checks and can’t buy guns if they have been charged with or convicted of felonies and some misdemeanors. Those limits don’t apply at gun shows, which is condemned as a major and dangerous loophole. At first blush, it sounds logical.

But Lott probed this issue.

The 40 percent contention, he found, is the product of a survey of a mere 251 persons about 20 years ago, before the 1993 Brady Act required any background checks whatsoever. Plus, buyers were asked only whether they “thought” background checks were required, not whether they actually were.

And excluding inherited guns, he found only 11.5 percent of sales were accomplished without background checks.

Maybe expanded background checks are a good idea. But the so-called loophole is much smaller than alleged.