President Obama: "As many as 40% of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check. That’s not safe, it’s not smart."—
White House Live (@WHLive) January 16, 2013
It’s the stat that keeps popping up in the gun control debate. Just one problem: It is totally bogus.
73% of gun owners say they purchased their firearms. Of that, 63% (not 60%) were purchased through the mail, at a gun store, a pawn shop or other store (other would be Wal-Mart, Gander Mountain, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.).
They show that 4% purchased their guns at a gun show. The bulk of sales at gun shows are through FFL’s. But for the sake of the whiners, let’s split it down the middle. 2% at gun shows were through FFL’s and 2% through a private sale. 29% say they acquired their gun from a friend or family member. If we deduct the 24% who say they inherited their firearms or received it as a gift, that leaves us with 5% who purchased it from a family member or friend.
So that leaves 65% of guns purchased where a background check was required. 5% of sales were done between family members and friends without a check. Another 24% were given as gifts or inherited. That leaves the final 6% which were sold in other markets or acquired through a trade. Even if we are generous and include sales between family members and friends, we are left with a figure of eleven percent. Not forty percent.
John Fund made the same point in National Review Online earlier today.