Since the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, many politicians have claimed that a federal law mandating universal background checks — which would apply to the transfer of firearms between private citizens — would help solve, or at least reduce, such shootings in the future.
The problem is not one mass public shooting this century would have been stopped if such a law had been in effect.
In fact, such a system would have real costs and unintended consequences for the public.
Presently, background checks are conducted on those who purchase firearms through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Of those who are rejected, the vast majority are “false positives,” meaning they are mistaken for prohibited people and wrongly denied a purchase.
If you’re being stalked or if your life has been threatened and you need to obtain a gun quickly to protect yourself or your loved ones, that problem can be very dangerous, and potentially lethal.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics last released a full annual report on NICS in 2010. (The Obama administration stopped releasing annual reports after that year.) The report revealed that 72,659 individuals had been denied because of NICS. Of