More People Are Buying Guns. Fewer People Are Getting Background Checks.

More People Are Buying Guns. Fewer People Are Getting Background Checks.

A worker hangs a custom made AR-15 style rifle on a wall at Davidson Defense in Orem, Utah on February 4, 2021. America’s gun background check system, designed to keep weapons out of the hands of people who might use them in crimes, has struggled to keep up with record firearms sales over the past year — even as violent crime has risen dramatically in many U.S. cities . In recent years, the FBI — which manages the system that vets gun buyers — processed an average of 8.6 million gun background checks annually, according to historical data analyzed by FiveThirtyEight. 1 Data goes back to 2014. But last year, the bureau processed 12,761,328 background checks, according to FBI data obtained by FiveThirtyEight through a public records request. Perhaps most alarming, the FBI never finished over 316,000 background checks in the first nine months of 2020 alone — far more than in any other year on record. And that number doesn’t include October, November and December — usually the busiest months for gun sales, when 3.4 million background checks were opened last year. In other words, it’s impossible to know how many guns were sold to people in 2020 who couldn’t legally own them because those background checks were never completed. Asked why it didn’t finish so many background checks in 2020, the FBI said in a statement that it “depends on the availability of relevant information and records provided by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies.” The bureau […]

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