John Lott: Background Checks Fail to Curb Gun Crime

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 08:47 AM

By Courtney Coren

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The Brady Law, which requires federally licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks on gun purchasers, has done little to prevent criminals from getting guns, says gun rights expert John Lott.

"There is no real scientific evidence among criminologists and economists that background checks actually reduce crime," Lott wrote in an opinion piece for Investor's Business Daily.

As gun-control advocates celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act on Friday, they touted the success of the law, saying that 1 million felons were kept from purchasing guns, and more than 2 million firearm sales were blocked.

"In reality, the 'Brady Checks' are quite ineffective in stopping criminals from getting guns," wrote the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. "There are actually very few hard-core criminals that are stupid enough to even try to buy a gun from a dealer that does a background check."

Lott explains that these 2 million "initial denials" are usually mishaps "because they have a similar name to a felon" a lot like what Americans might deal with if their name is similar to someone else's who is on the "no fly" list.

"All these denials mean delays for many law-abiding gun buyers," Lott writes. "Although just an inconvenience for most, this causes dangerous delays for people who suddenly, legitimately need a gun for self-defense."

As a result, Lott argues that the data show "delays caused by Brady background checks likely increase violent crime slightly, especially rape."

It was concluded by a National Academy of Sciences panel in 2004 "that the Brady background checks did not reduce violent crime, not even a single category of violent crime."

Lott added that if the background checks done by companies on future employers were that much of a failure "they would be sued out of existence."

"The Brady Law had been a mess," he concluded. "If we are going to keep it, let's try to fix it."

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