More gun purchases are being approved after federal background checks under the Obama administration than the previous presidential tenures of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, The Washington Times reported.
Figures obtained by the newspaper reveal that nearly everyone who applies for a gun from a federally licensed dealer and is vetted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is handed the weapon, regardless of what party is in power.
The security system was introduced in 1998 to prevent potential buyers with criminal records or mental illness from obtaining guns. Sales of firearms by private sellers don’t require background checks unless required by state law.
In 1999 and 2000, during Clinton’s presidency, 0.83 percent of applicants, fewer than one in 100, were denied firearms, according to statistics obtained by the Times under the Freedom of Information Act. And from 2001 to 2008 under Bush’s tenure, the percentage of refusals was even less at 0.67 percent, also less than 100.
Under the current Obama administration, the average denial rate is just 0.46, or fewer than one in 50 applicants, which is nearly half of Clinton’s numbers and also much lower than Bush’s.
The statistics show that the percentage of denials was even lower than 0.46 in the six months directly after the Sandy Hook school massacre by deranged shooter Adam Lanza.
The rampage resulted in an outcry from gun control advocates, including President Barack Obama, for stricter gun controls and an expansion of the background check system.
Astonishingly, there were just over 171,028,000 federal background checks carried out on potential gun buyers run from Jan. 1, 1999, to June 30, 2013 — with about 1,024,000 denied. The factors that prevent would-be buyers getting firearms include a criminal history, illegal immigration, or a dishonorable discharge from the military.
Thomas Baker, assistant professor of criminology at the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the number of gun applicants has increased rapidly in recent years because of the fierce political controversy surrounding gun controls that could result in them being barred from getting a weapon.
And he noted that people unlikely to be approved for a gun purchase are getting around the federal system by buying firearms privately.
“The unfortunate fact is that political rhetoric on gun control is likely increasing firearm purchases by those legally prohibited from owning firearms, too,” said Baker. “The only difference is that with the private-sale loophole, these sales go entirely undetected.”
Earlier this week in New Hampshire, a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales and transfers to include gun shows, the Internet, and flea markets was killed by the state’s Legislature, The Associated Press reported.
The bill would have required most private sellers to conduct background checks through federally licensed dealers. State Rep. Richard Meaney, a Republican, said the bill infringed upon New Hampshire gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.
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By Drew MacKenzie