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Presale Handgun Checks, 1997

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE


ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EDT         BJS
SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 1998               202/307-0784

         
       PRESALE BACKGROUND CHECKS BLOCKED 
  AN ESTIMATED 69,000 HANDGUN SALES LAST YEAR
                                 
     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An estimated 69,000
handgun sales were blocked during 1997 through
presale background checks, the Justice
Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
announced today.  The rejections represented about
2.7 percent of the estimated 2.6 million
applications for handgun purchases, BJS said.

     About 62 percent of last year's rejections
were based on a prior felony conviction or a
current felony indictment.  Eleven percent were
based on domestic violence misdemeanor convictions
or restraining orders, and 6 percent were because
the applicant was a fugitive from justice.

     Since the effective date of the Brady Handgun
Violence Prevention Act in February 1994 through
December 31, 1997, there were an estimated 242,000
potential purchases stopped because of background
checks, according to the BJS report. 

     The estimated annual handgun purchase
rejections were as follows:

     1994 (10 months) . . . . . . . .  62,000
     1995 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  41,000
     1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  70,000
     1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  69,000 
                                 
     During 1997 an average of 328,000 queries per
month came into the FBI's National Crime
Information Center about the records of people who
wanted to purchase firearms or carry firearm
permits.

     Beginning November 1998,  presale checks will
be required for all firearms--not just handguns--
purchased from federally licensed dealers.  The
dealers will make the checks.  Unless the state
has a federally approved firearm permit system,
the dealers will go directly to the FBI's National
Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or
indirectly through a state agency serving as an
FBI contact point.

     The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits
the sale of firearms to any person
who --
     *  is a juvenile
     *  is a fugitive from justice
     *  is under indictment for, or has been 
        convicted of, a crime punishable by  
        imprisonment for more than one year  
     *  is an unlawful user of a controlled 
        substance
     *  has been adjudicated as a mental
        defective or committed to a mental
        institution
     *  is an alien unlawfully in the United
        States
     *  was discharged from the armed services
        under dishonorable conditions
     *  has renounced U.S. citizenship
     *  is subject to a court order restraining
        him or her from harassing, stalking or
        threatening an intimate partner or
        child, or
     *  is a person who has been convicted of
        domestic violence.

     Single copies of the bulletin, "Presale
Handgun Checks, 1997" (NCJ-171130), written by BJS
program manager Donald A. Manson and BJS 
statistician Darrell K. Gilliard, may be obtained
from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing
301/519-5550, listening to the menu, and selecting
document number 116 or  by calling the BJS
Clearinghouse at 1-800/732-3277.

     The BJS Internet site is:

          http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

     Additional criminal justice materials can be
obtained from the Office of Justice
Programs Internet homepage at:

          http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

                              # # # 

BJS98138 
After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354 
Date Created: May 27, 2009