The American gun background check system is unable to cope with the sheer number of increases in sales of guns. A record number of firearms have been sold and violent crimes have also increased dramatically in many cities throughout the nation. However, the number of blocked sales have also substantially increased.
Data from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was analyzed by Five Thirty-Eight which reported that 12,761,328 background checks were run by the agency, but it was still unable to complete 316,000 background checks in the first nine months of 2020 as sales soared beyond their ability to conduct such sheer number of background checks.
The FBI has fallen short of the targets of background checks in the past, but the FBI fell short by a larger percent — 3.4 percent of background checks in the first nine months of last years. In 2019, the percent of incomplete checks was 2.5 percent, and it was much lower in 2014 where the FBI had been unable to conduct checks on 2.1 percent of sales.
The FBI told Five Thirty-Eight that the process depended on the availability of relevant information and records provided by the federal, state, local and tribal agencies. The agency also said that it had reallocated resources to continually and effectively process background checks.
According to FBI records received by Everytown for Gun Safety, which was shared with AP, the agency blocked more than 300,000 sales of firearms last year. This is close to fifty percent more than those blocked in 2019.
According to some retailers one of the reasons for the increase in number of guns sold is due to an increase in first time buyers. More women and people of color are buying guns. Another reason mentioned was that many Americans want to purchase guns before stricter gun control measures are proposed by the Biden administration.
President Biden has taken some steps through executive action. The executive order directs the Justice Department to take action against the sale of ghost guns. It also invests in interventions to prevent or decrease community violence.
However, Congress, mainly the Senate, has been stalling two bills that could bring some measure of gun control. These bills are
- The Bipartisan Background Checks Act
- The Enhanced Background Checks Act