Thursday, January 17, 2013

40% Of Gun Transfers Are Private Party?

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make in any sort of debate is to assume that the statistics and claims the other side makes are both honest and accurate.  Sometimes people on the other side have not examined the origins or credibility of the statistics that they are using; sometimes they don't care. John Fund has an article at National Review Online today pointing out that the 40% figure is based on small sample group and old survey, and isalmost certainly far too high:
The dubious statistic of guns that avoided background checks — which is actually 36 percent — comes from a small 251-person survey on gun sales two decades ago, very early in the Clinton administration. Most of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks in early 1994.

If that alone didn’t make the number invalid, the federal survey simply asked buyers if they thought they were buying from a licensed firearms dealer. While all Federal Firearm Licensees do background checks, only those perceived as being FFLs were counted. Yet, there is much evidence that survey respondents who went to the smallest FFLs, especially the “kitchen table” types, had no idea that the dealer was actually “licensed.” Many buyers seemed to think that only “brick and mortar” stores were licensed dealers, and so the survey underestimating the number of sales covered by the checks.

Another reason for the high number is that it includes guns transferred as inheritances or as gifts from family members. Even President Obama’s background proposal excludes almost all of those transfers.
this article nicely complements the article that I had in National Review Online yesterday pointing to the evidence that private party sales, if they are a significant source of criminal guns, it doesn't seem to show up in homicide rates.

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