43 Percent More Background Checks Processed Between March and November of 2020 Compared to the Same Period in 2019; Because of Charleston Loophole, Some Delayed Sales Are Proceeding Without the Completion of a Background Check
Posts on Armslist.com from People Seeking to Buy Guns Have Nearly Doubled Over Last Year—Signaling a Likely Increase in Sales Without Background Checks
Demand has Surged for Ghost Guns—Unregulated, Untraceable Do-it-Yourself Firearms Not Subject to Background Checks
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, today released a new report showing how the background check system works as a foundation for a comprehensive approach to gun violence prevention and also highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated loopholes in U.S. gun laws. The report details, among other findings:
- The dramatic increase in background checks processed in 2020 compared with 2019
- The dangers posed by the expanded Charleston loophole, through which sales can proceed if not completed within three business days
- The increase in posts by people looking to buy guns on Armslist—the self-proclaimed “largest free gun classifieds on the web”
- Skyrocketing demand for ghost guns, which are not subject to background checks, do not have serial numbers, and cannot be traced when they are recovered at crime scenes.
“The cracks in the foundation of our background checks system are wider and more dangerous today than they were before this crisis,” said Rob Wilcox, deputy director for policy and strategy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “As a result, it is far too easy for people who shouldn’t have a gun to get one with no background check and no questions asked.”
HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS EXACERBATED LOOPHOLES IN U.S. GUN LAWS
Using data from numerous federal sources and gun sales websites, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund analyzed how the background check system has become overwhelmed amid the pandemic and how this has exacerbated long-standing, NRA-backed loopholes in our gun laws. Among key takeaways in today’s report, which is available in full here:
- The number of background checks processed during the COVID-19 pandemic is record-breaking and has put an unparalleled strain on the system, with 43 percent more checks being processed between March and November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
- By the end of 2020, it is estimated that nearly 600,000 checks will have taken longer than three business days. Because of the Charleston loophole, all sales that are delayed past this deadline may proceed, meaning at least 7,500 illegal purchasers could have acquired guns in this fashion—more than during the last two years combined.
- The number of posts by people looking to buy guns on Armslist—the self-proclaimed “largest free gun classifieds on the web”—has increased dramatically during the pandemic, nearly doubling in 2020 compared to 2019 and signaling a large spike in no-background-check sales.
- Demand has skyrocketed in 2020 for ghost guns, unregulated do-it-yourself firearms that are not subject to background checks, do not have serial numbers, and cannot be traced when they are recovered at crime scenes.