The number of people stopped from buying guns through the US background check system hit an all-time high of more than 300,000 last year amid a surge of firearm sales, according to new records obtained by the group Everytown for Gun Safety. The FBI numbers provided to the AP show the background checks blocked nearly twice as many gun sales in 2020 as in the year before. About 42% of those denials were because the would-be buyers had felony convictions on their records. The increase in blocked gun sales largely tracks with the record-setting surge in sales that took hold along with the coronavirus pandemic and has continued into this year, through historic demonstrations against police brutality, deep political divisions and an insurrection at the US Capitol.
And it comes as Congress has failed to pass major legislation on guns despite the Democratic majority and President Biden's push. A bill that would strengthen background checks is stalled in the Senate. The House in March passed the legislation requiring the checks on all sales and transfers, as well as an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases, but it faces an uphill battle getting GOP support in the Senate. Everytown’s research found that 16% of would-be gun buyers in 2020 were prohibited by state law, like the extreme-risk protection orders or red-flag laws passed in several states. Another 12% were related to domestic violence, either people subject to a protective order or convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime.
(Read more gun sales