Evidence demonstrates that background checks save lives. For example, in the fourteen states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:
- Gun trafficking is 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.
- In 2010, the rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.
- The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.
- In 2011, of states with sufficient data, those that required background checks for all handgun sales had 17 percent fewer firearm aggravated assaults, controlling for population.
Recent polls by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed likely voters in a wide range of states and congressional districts overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun sales. The average support for background checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent; the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent. In
, 91 percent support background checks for all sales. The findings of these surveys can be found
These findings are in line with recent independent polls that have found
more than 90 percent
of Americans support background checks for all buyers. Previous
polling by Republican Frank Luntz
for Mayors Against Illegal Guns also found that 82 percent of gun owners – including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members – support requiring criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun.
Recent Mayors Against Illegal Guns
found that an estimated 99.4 percent of
residents live within ten miles of a gun dealer – disproving the gun lobby's claim that background checks would be burdensome for private gun sellers and bolstering the case for checks on all gun sales.
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its creation in
, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by
New York City
, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns. Learn more at
Erika Soto Lamb
Mayor Bloomberg's Press Office (212) 788-2958Mayor Menino's Press Office (617) 635-4461
Philip J. Cook
, Guns in America, 1996, available at
. 2,568 individuals, including 251 gun owners, were surveyed by telephone and asked how they obtained their firearms.
 In the 38 states that have not fully closed the private sale loophole, an estimated 9,856,984 background checks were conducted between
, out of an estimated 16.5 million total firearm transfers in those states. 40 percent of this total—6.6 million transfers—occurred without background checks. Calculation based on FBI data. Available:
, "Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking," Journal of Urban Health,
 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2011.