Virginia: Voluntary Background Checks Not Widely Wanted, Private Sales Not A Problem

posted on November 2, 2016

Data from the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center show that the state’s system for voluntary background checks for private firearm transactions is not widely used—contradicting claims by the anti-gun lobby that 90 percent of people want such checks. Additionally, voluntary checks have not resulted in a single denial to a prohibited person, suggesting the system is a waste of resources, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Since Virginia’s voluntary background check law took effect in July, only 21 private sellers at gun shows opted to perform background checks on purchasers. Not one check resulted in the denial of a purchase, whereas among licensed dealers—who are required by federal law to perform background checks—the denial rate was less than 1 percent.

These figures are consistent with a 1997 federal Justice Department study that found that, contrary to the claim that gun shows are a significant source of criminals’ firearms, less than 2 percent of criminals obtain their firearms through gun shows.

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