Background Checks – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a Brady criminal background check?

Answer:  To Find out if a prospective gun buyer is prohibited from purchasing a firearm.

Why is a Brady criminal background check important?

Answer:  The Brady criminal background check is important to keep dangerous guns out of the hands of dangerous people. It is a critical law enforcement tool that prevents criminals and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns at gun dealers.

Since 1994, the Brady Law has stopped over 1.9 million criminals and other prohibited people from purchasing firearms from licensed dealers

Are all gun sales covered by the Brady Law?

Answer: No. There are loopholes that need to be addressed.

  • The Brady Law applies only to sales by licensed gun dealers, not to sales by unlicensed sellers.
  •  It is estimated that over forty percent of gun acquisitions occur in the secondary market. That means that they happen without a Brady background check at a federally licensed dealer

What are the loopholes and why are they a problem?

Answer: 

  • We make it too easy for dangerous people to obtain dangerous weapons. Convicted felons, domestic violence abusers, and those who are dangerously mentally ill can walk into gun shows or flea markets and buy firearms from unlicensed sellers.

No questions are asked. In addition to gun shows and flea markets, criminals use classified ads and even the internet to buy and sell guns without a background check.

Are criminals really using gun shows to buy guns?

Answer:   Examples of gun show purchasers:  Columbine, Timothy McVeigh, Branch Davidian cult leader David Koresh, foreign terrorists

Are gun owners in favor of background checks for all gun sales?

Answer: 

  • Yes, 67 percent of gun owners favor requiring a background check for every sale,     regardless of location.

Eighty-four percent of people who live in a house with a gun (but are not the owner of the gun) favor a background check for every sale,

  • 80 percent of non-gun owners support this policy.

Source: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence