Record 300,000 Gun Sales Blocked by Federal Background Checks

Luke C.
by Luke C.

There is always a lot of debate in the gun world in regards to background checks being conducted with gun legislation pundits on both sides constantly arguing over whether or not the current system actually works or not. A recent article put out by the Associated Press notes that a new record-breaking 300,000 potential guns sales were blocked by FBI background checks during 2020 which was apparently double the number of denials from the previous year.

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Record 300,000 Gun Sales Blocked by Federal Background Checks

As you can see from some of the related articles above, the amount of background check denials seems to be intrinsically tied to the increase in overall gun sales the country saw for the year 2020. According to the report by the Associated Press, about 42% of the denials issued were the result of buyers having a felony conviction on their records and thus are already barred from owning firearms, to begin with. A quote by UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler makes the assumption that the 0.6 to 0.8% increase in denials could be because many of those who bought guns in 2020 were first-time gun buyers and “may not have been aware that they were legally barred from owning them.”

Current gun store clerk and TFB writer Daniel Y had a little bit to say on the subject in regards to how often the gun store that he works at sees background check denials:

Once or twice per month, but our clientele is a pretty law-abiding bunch.

Meanwhile, another TFB writer, Mike R, says that the current trend that they are seeing is “about 3-5 a month.” From what I know of both their gun stores, they are quite busy places and as a result, a handful of denials per month is a fairly low number when taking into account the number of firearms that are probably transferred every day using the NICS system.

The data used by AP in their report was generated by the organization Everytown for Gun Safety (a gun control advocacy group) and their data was in turn generated from information released to them by the FBI and mixed in with data provided by both Florida and California which conduct their own background checks for potential firearms owners. Although the data suggests that our current background check system is working as intended (to stop felons from buying guns), there are also instances in which background check denials are actually “false positives.” These cases make up 89% of background check denials ( this is according to a report released in 2017 by the Government Accountability Office). In many cases, even those who are legally barred from purchasing a firearm and knowingly provide false information on a form 4473 are often not legally prosecuted.

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So I’ll put the question out there to all of you. Based on these numbers, is this a problem? Does the number of denials from the NICS system surprise you or do you think that it is about on par with what you’d expect? Have you ever been falsely denied the purchase of a firearm because of the NICS background check system? If so I’d be interested to hear your story and how everything ended up.

Luke C.
Luke C.

Reloader SCSA Competitor Certified Pilot Currently able to pass himself off as the second cousin twice removed of Joe Flanigan. Instagram:

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2 of 57 comments
  • Brocus Brocus on Apr 23, 2022

    "shall not be infringed"

  • AtomicBullz AtomicBullz on Apr 24, 2022

    How many are false positives? Out of the positive denials, how many got a gun anyway off the streets? If background checks worked as intended, where are all the armless criminals?