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May 5, 2021

The Main Source of Guns Used in Crime is the Black Market

Universal background checks would not address the problem of the main source of crime guns: the black market.

Universal Background Checks Would Have No Effect on Criminals

The Main Source of Guns Used in Crime is the Black Market


The survey also found that over 80 percent of the state and federal inmates may have been prohibited from buying a firearm under federal law. Considering these figures, it is no surprise that criminals do not seek to purchase firearms from licensed retailers. In fact, this is confirmed by an extremely low NICS denial rate. In 2019, the FBI’s NICS system denied 103,592 firearm transfers, a denial rate of only 0.37 percent of the over 28 million NICS Firearm Background Checks.

If universal background checks were mandated, the question becomes whether criminals would change their behavior and instead choose to obtain firearms from FFLs that require a background check. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of the effectiveness of various firearm laws published in 2003, found no evidence this would happen. More recently, a 2013 Justice Department review of violence prevention studies found that even a “perfect universal background check system” would not address the largest sources of crime guns.3 Further, the study found that effectiveness would depend on “requiring gun registration”.

Additionally, evidence that a universal background check law would fail to limit access to firearms among prohibited populations can be found in an analysis of the implementation of the Brady Act. According to a 2000 study, there was “no evidence that implementation of the Brady Act was associated with a reduction in homicide rates.”

Ultimately, the goal of registration for antigun advocates is confiscation of law-abiding owners’ firearms. The strategy is historically present in many countries as far back as Nazi Germany to modern day Australia, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and most recently, Canada. In the United States, disarming law-abiding citizens could be expedited by registration records that pinpoint gun owners’ locations. After registration and confiscation, violent crime skyrockets for years because criminals know that none of their victims are armed. Afterall, most criminals get their firearms from the black market or steal them.

Learn more about the problems with so-called Universal Background Checks.


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