Lindsay Graham is quoted by The Hill as follows:
"This idea of private individuals transferring their weapons and having to go through a background check makes no sense," Graham continued on Sunday. "Before you'd expand the background check there are 76,000 people last year who failed a background check and less than 1 percent got prosecuted. There are 9,000 people in 2010 failed a background check who were felons on the run, so before you expand background checks to include private individuals let's put resources into the current system we have."He's missing the point (or perhaps obfuscating it).
76,000 people didn't get a gun, at least 9,000 of them legitimately and likely many more.
Certainly there should be a discussion about enforcement. According to the ATF, not every violation is worthy of prosecution. The Chicago Tribune reports that "paperwork" crimes are the violations most often not prosecuted.
If private sales account for 40% of all gun sales (and thanks to legislation prohibiting research or record-keeping, the number is debatable), then requiring background checks for private sales might have denied another 50,000 people a gun.
Background checks of private sales might have prevented 12 mass killings between 1982 and 2012, according to data compiled by Mother Jones.
But Senator Graham does get one thing right: we need to put more resources into the system we have, specifically into NICS.
According to a Bloomberg article by Frank A. S. Campbell, after it was learned that the shooter at Virginia Tech in 2007 obtained his guns legally because information about his mental health struggles was not in the database:
"Congress responded by passing the NICS Improvement Act, authorizing $1.3 billion in grants to fund state agencies and court systems to create the necessary information infrastructure. Yet even after additional mass shootings, the authorized sums were never requested by the president or appropriated by Congress; indeed, the plan has received only token funding -- $50 million since 2009, or 4 percent of the authorized amount. As a result, information collection remains uneven, the databases full of gaps."How many more might have failed background checks if this data were better?
Shame on you, legislators. According to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, 75% of respondents support background checks for all gun sales, including private sales. You represent the people, not the NRA. Pass background check legislation and appropriate money for NICS improvement, now.