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Record number of criminals wanted to buy weapons in the US in 2020: they were stopped by data verification

According to new reports received by the Everytown for Gun Safety group, the number of people who have not been sold weapons based on the results of background checks reached a record high of more than 300 last year, amid a sharp increase in the sale of firearms. Writes about it AP.

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FBI data show that background checks blocked nearly double the number of arms sales in 2020 than a year earlier. About 42% of these rejections were due to potential buyers having criminal convictions.

The increase in blocked arms sales is largely due to the record spike in sales that came with the COVID-19 pandemic and a surge in protests against racial injustice and police action.

This happened due to the fact that Congress was unable to pass an important law on weapons. A bill to strengthen background checks has been suspended in the Senate. In March, the House of Representatives passed legislation requiring verification of all sales and transfers, as well as an extended 10-day review of arms purchases. In most states, background checks are only required for sales from dealers who are federally licensed.

According to the data, the percentage of potential buyers who are not allowed to own a weapon also increased slightly over the previous two years, from about 0,6% to 0,8%. This may in part be due to the fact that many people who tried to get a gun in 2020 bought it for the first time and may not have known they were legally prohibited from owning it, said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. specializing in weapons policy.

“Some may have a criminal record and not think about it,” he said.

Falsifying biographical information is a criminal offense, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a heavy fine, but few are prosecuted, he said.

According to a report by the US Government Audit Office, in 2017 only 12 of the 112 people who were denied weapons purchases, or about 000%, were prosecuted, largely due to limited resources for lengthy investigations.

On the subject: Self-defense or danger to society: who and why owns weapons in the USA

Everytown study found that 16% of potential gun buyers in 2020 were blocked by state laws, such as emergency hazard court orders issued by several states. Another 12% were associated with domestic violence, whether they were people on a protection order or convicted of a petty domestic violence offense.

The data shows just how necessary a background verification law is, said Sarah Bird-Sharps, director of research at Everytown.

“There is no doubt that background checks are working, but the system is working overtime to prevent record numbers of people from purchasing firearms,” she said. "The gaps in the law allow people to avoid verification."

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Gun rights groups opposed the proposal, with Alan Gottlieb, founder of The Second Amendment Foundation, said the rise in denials may be partly due to more states updating their records of restricted gun owners. According to him, sometimes there are false positives. “Not a day goes by that our office does not receive calls with complaints from people who have been mistakenly refused,” he said.

The data is also coming as an increasing number of conservative states are moving away from requiring people to undergo background checks and training in how to carry weapons in public places.

Texas last week became the latest of about 20 states to waive permit requirements. Gun rights groups say these demands are an unfair burden on law-abiding gun owners, but firearms safety groups fear this is a dangerous trend that will lead more firearms to fall into the wrong hands.

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