Sens. Manchin and Toomey announced their ‘compromise’ on expanding background checks Wednesday, which, among other things, closes the “gun show loophole.” By law, all federal firearms licensees are required to conduct background checks for firearms transactions—even at a gun show. But gun control advocates repeatedly say that 40 percent of all gun purchases at gun shows are private sales and thus, not subject to a background check. Where are they getting this figure from and is it true? Heritage weighs in:
As The Washington Post has pointed out, this 40 percent figure comes from a 1997 report by the National Institute of Justice, a research agency within the Department of Justice, and was based on a telephone survey sample of just 251 people who acquired firearms in 1993 and 1994. This was years before the NICS system went into effect. Of the 251 participants, 35.7 percent said that they didn’t or “probably” didn’t obtain their gun from a licensed firearms dealer. Because the margin of error was +/– 6 percentage points, it was rounded up to 40 percent, although it could just as easily and legitimately have been rounded down below 30 percent.