Story says background checks blocked 300,000 gun sales…but wait

Background checks may stop some gun sales, but they haven’t stopped burglaries at gun stores.

Using data from the Everytown for Gun Safety gun control lobbying group, the Associated Press recently reported that “The number of people stopped from buying guns through the U.S. background check system hit an all-time high of more than 300,000 last year amid a surge of firearm sales.”

But nowhere in the story was there anything about the number of criminals who got their hands on firearms, anyway.

Conservative Firing Line looked back to 2020 and found several reports from all over the country regarding smash-and-grab gun shop burglaries, suggesting a lot of hardware found its way into the wrong hands, in spite of the chest-thumping report from Everytown.

Politico reported on June 23, 2020 that “A rash of gun store burglaries has alarmed law enforcement officials and comes amid widespread protests that have been accompanied by incidents of looting and vandalism across the country.”

“In the last days of May and first week of June,” Politico noted at the time, “there were more than 90 attempted or successful burglaries of gun stores, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. More than 1,000 guns were stolen in that window of time” according to the bureau’s assistant director of field operations, Tom Chittum.

Business Insider revealed how looters broke into a sporting goods store on the evening of May 30, 2020 in Fayetteville, N.C. to make off with “dozens of firearms” while police were busy facing off with protesters.

In Atlanta, the story continued, “50 guns were stolen from a gun store in town.”

And, the report added, burglars broke into a gun store and “stole 40 guns in 80 seconds. Over in Albuquerque, N.M. thieves made off with 153 firearms from a gun shop.

According to the Associated Press story about Everytown’s investigation, “According to the data, the rate of barred would-be gun buyers also increased somewhat over the previous two years, from about 0.6% to 0.8%. That could be in part because many of the people who tried to get guns in 2020 were buying them for the first time and may not have been aware that they were legally barred from owning them, said Adam Winkler, a UCLA Law professor specializing in gun policy.”

There was a lot of anecdotal evidence from gun shops last year suggesting many would-be gun buyers were surprised by the requirements to purchase firearms. Until they walked into the gun stores, these first-time buyers apparently had believed the gun control rhetoric about the alleged “easy access” to guns. Some people were upset they couldn’t walk out with their newly-purchased firearm the same day they paid for it. And, as the AP story noted, many people didn’t realize their past indiscretions barred them from owning guns.

This year, gun sales are continuing at a brisk pace, though things may have slowed down some from the buying spree in 2020.

And there is something else the AP story revealed, courtesy of Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. There are apparently a lot of “false positives” in the background check denials.

“A day doesn’t go by that our office doesn’t get complaint calls from people who’ve been denied wrongly,” he said.

The system may be keeping some guns out of the wrong hands, but it apparently is also wrongly keeping—at least temporarily—guns out of the right hands due to faulty information, a name similarity or some other problem.

Meanwhile, major cities including Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and elsewhere continue to report homicides, typically committed by people who don’t bother with background checks because they’re criminals, and so far, Everytown hasn’t figured out how to disarm them.


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