Members of Congress are talking about passing legislation to expand gun background checks. That’s why I decided to study the issue in more depth. In the process, I found a one statistic that shocked me.
Kevin Williamson cited an audit of the Government Accountability Office of the effectiveness of gun background checks that are performed by a licensed firearms dealer. A potential gun purchaser must fill out Form 4473 honestly and accurately. If you lie on the form, it is a felony that can lead to as much as ten years in prison. Nevertheless, a significant number of people do lie on the form.
In the year the government office audited these forms, there were 112,000 attempts by prohibited persons to buy a firearm that were stopped by the background check system. That is 112,000 federal gun crimes in which the perpetrator signed the form and thereby provided all the evidence needed to convict him. This included convicted felons (36%), people subject to protective orders (30%), and others convicted of domestic violence (16%). These are the types of people who should not have a gun.
The audit shows that about 30 percent of those people who fail a gun background check are arrested on another criminal charges within five years. But here is the shocking statistic. Out of the 12,700 cases that were taken up for investigation, there were only twelve prosecutions. That’s right, twelve prosecutions out of more than 12,000. Put another way, that is one prosecution out of 10,000. As bad as that looks, it is even worse since the federal government only conducts gun background checks for 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Here’s one suggestion. Let’s enforce the gun laws we already have on the books.