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Friday, February 14, 2014

Current background checks stop very few firearm purchases -- By David Sherfinski, The Washington Times

Percentage of denials hits low under Obama 

Federal background checks are denying gun purchasers under President Obama at about half the rate they did under President Clinton and also at a slower clip than during President George W. Bush's administration, according to data obtained by The Washington Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

The federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System is designed to weed out would-be gun buyers with criminal records or histories of mental health problems. Gun control advocates have pushed for the system to be expanded in the wake of mass shootings as a way to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

But statistics provided to The Times show that almost everyone who applies under the system is approved and it hardly matters which party controls the White House.

In 1999 and 2000, the two full years during which the system was operational under Mr. Clinton, just 0.83 percent of applicants were denied. During Mr. Bush's eight years in office, the denial rate was about 0.67 percent.

Under Mr. Obama, the denial rate has dropped to 0.46 percent — and was even lower in the six months after the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that renewed the focus on the system.

The total number of denials is publicly available, but monthly totals obtained by The Times show rates varying from as high as 1 percent, in February 1999 to as low as 0.33 percent in January 2013.

All told, about 171,028,000 federal background checks were run — with about 1,024,000 denials — from Jan. 1, 1999, to June 30, 2013.

....

 Mr. Baker said a bigger factor is that political rhetoric in recent years has convinced many law-abiding citizens that they may need to buy guns now or never. As a result, purchases from federally licensed dealers under Mr. Obama, and thus the number of checks, have reached levels not seen during the Clinton or Bush administrations. Because the new buyers are law-abiding citizens who cannot be denied guns, the refusal rate has dipped.

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