FALSE: Police Chief Johnson’s testimony “40% bypass background checks”

CHEIFTestimony from Baltimore Baltimore County, Md., Police Chief James Johnson:

“From November 2011 to November 2012, an estimated 6.6 million firearm transactions occurred without a background check. Up to 40 percent of firearm transactions occur through private individuals rather than licensed gun dealers. Allowing 40 percent of those acquiring guns to bypass background checks is like allowing 40 percent of airline passengers to board a plane without going through airport security.”

The gun-control bunch likes to argue that four of every ten firearm purchases in the U.S. are made through channels in which the buyer is not subject to a background check through the federal NICS system. That’s a lot guns being purchased in absence of a background check, they argue, with many coming through the infamous “gun show loophole.” As with many “facts” offered by gun grabbers, however, this one’s not only misleading, it’s based on a suspect source.

Advocates for gun restrictions toss around statistics like they’re magic talismans which confer instant credibility in any debate. The favored source for factoids on gun purchases – including the proportion of transactions subject to background checks – is the National Institute of Justice report, “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms.” Published in 1997, the report is based on an even-older piece of research, the “National Study of Private Ownership of Firearms in the United States,” a survey sponsored by the Police Foundation in 1994.

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You read that correctly: this is research that is two decades old.

Given the changes in Americans’ shopping habits, economic conditions and other potential influences since 1994, the mere age of the study would render it…

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