Virtually all of the 118 million U.S. gun purchases since 1994 sailed through federally-required firearm background checks and the legitimate buyers got their guns, according to a new Justice Department report that appears to confirm claims from Second Amendment advocates that the system works.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that during the 16 years since the Brady Handgun Prevention Violence Act of 1993 was passed, just 1.8 percent, or 2.1 million, applications for firearm transfers or permits were denied.
Most of the rejections denied felons and fugitives from getting a gun. According to Justice, 47.4 percent of the denials were due to felony indictments or convictions, 10.6 percent due to a state law violation, 19.1 percent because the buyer was a fugitive, and another 10.4 percent for domestic violence.
Mental illness or disability was the reason given in just 1.8 percent of the denials, a finding gun advocates said helps to make the case of 11 state sheriff associations who want President Obama to focus on mental health issues not banning guns.
Groups like the National Rifle Association have argued against universal background checks, claiming that the current FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System works but needs reforms to better catch those suffering from mental illness.
Justice said that Delaware, home to Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama's lead advocate for gun control, had the second highest number of background check denials, at 4.2 percent of those seeking to buy guns. Virginia, which had the fifth largest number of firearm purchase applications, rejected 1.2 percent and Maryland rejected 1.8 percent.