Universal Background Checks

Since 2013, between 89-97% of Americans support background checks for all gun sales, with support peaking at 97% in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting.  Gun owners and non-gun owners alike share a common belief that guns should be kept away from dangerous people.

By federal law, it is illegal for a licensed dealer to sell a firearm without performing a background check. Background checks preclude sales to a potential buyer who is:

  • under indictment for a felonybackground checks
  • a user of a controlled substance
  • a fugitive from justice
  • an undocumented immigrant
  • under a court restraining order for harassing or stalking an intimate partner
  • mentally defective
  • dishonorably discharged from the military
  • convicted of domestic violence
  • renounced U.S. citizenship

2. The most dangerous gap in federal firearms laws is the “private sale” loophole. Neither federal nor Florida law requires unlicensed “private sellers,” including those who sell online and at gun shows, to complete a background check.

3. In the absence of a comprehensive background check system, criminals and other prohibited persons routinely exploit the massive loopholes in our laws.   About 80% of firearms acquired for criminal purposes are obtained through transfers from unlicensed sellers

4. Researchers confirm that expanded background check laws, which close loopholes, effectively improve public safety and save lives. 21 states and the District of Columbia have extended the background check requirement beyond federal law to at least some private sales.  States with universal background check laws experience:

  • 48% less gun trafficking
  • 38% fewer deaths of women shot by intimate partners
  • 53% lower gun suicide rates and 31% fewer suicides per capita than states not having these laws

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