Closing Gun Show Loophole Did Not Appreciably Increase Background Checks

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For years, the anti-gun groups have been blaming the gun show “loophole” for a good portion of the gun violence in the United States. They claimed that closing the “loophole” (allowing private-party sales and transfers of shotguns and rifles without an FBI background check) would decrease gun violence because more people would be checked.

On October 6, 2017 the medical journal Injury Prevention published an article that analyzed three states – Delaware, Washington and Colorado that required background checks for all private-party transfers. Only one state, Delaware, showed an increase of firearm checks with an increase of 22% to 23%. The increases in Washington and Colorado were negligible.

Interestingly, Colorado did show an increase in non-gun-show sales, so people there were definitely increasing their firearm collections from dealers and not from private sources. They believe non-compliance by the citizens of Washington and Colorado may be the reason for those states not to show an appreciable increase in registrations.

This study was partially funded by the Joyce Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation, both no friends of the Second Amendment. Were these foundations disappointed that they didn’t see huge increases? We may never know.

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