When private sales are conducted without background checks, as federal law currently allows, those sales cut off police leads and turn cases cold. Almost 60 percent of ATF trace investigations involve secondhand guns, which are difficult to trace because unlicensed sellers are not required by federal law to keep records of the transfers.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.