Bad Stats Used in Colorado Gun Control Push

The Associated Press is reporting that statistics used to push the “universal background check” law in Colorado last year were flawed. Long-time readers should remember the discussion we had here on Modern Rifleman last April regarding the National Institute of Justice’s 1997 study. Using the study, gun control groups came to the conclusion that 40% of firearms sales are conducted without a background check. Though the claims have been widely discredited by now, in A Deeper Look at the 40%, I further broke the statistics down and came to what I felt was a more accurate figure for private transactions. As it turns out, I was pretty close.

In A Deeper Look at the 40%, I examined the individual groupings from the NIJ study and using some domain knowledge determined that somewhere between 6% and 10% of firearm sales are made without a background check. As it turns out, I was being generous.

According to this morning’s AP report, approximately 311,000 checks have been performed since the law went into effect last July. Of these, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations has reported that around 13,600 are a result of the new “universal background check” law in the state. AP journalist, Ivan Moreno, correctly points out that this is a mere 4% of overall transactions over the last year. Perhaps even more impressive is that of the 13,600 new checks, only 260 were returned as denials. Even if all of these denials were legitimate (unlikely), less than 0.1% of newly recorded transactions actually do anything to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

The report further points out that Colorado legislators allocated $3 million this past year for the new program. While there is no information regarding how much of that has been spent, this comes out to as much as $11,500 per denial, with taxpayers footing the bill.

Associated Press report:

A Deeper Look at the 40%:


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