How Firearm Background Checks Work

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Author's Note: How Firearm Background Checks Work

When explaining a "conversation" as socially and politically divisive as gun control, a writer is faced with a lot of decisions along the way in the interest of objectivity. I made every effort to stick to the facts and relied heavily on statistics from primary sources like the FBI and the ATF. Doubtless, some readers will read a bias, one way or another. Some don't necessarily trust the FBI and ATF to provide accurate statistics in the first place. Those were my best options, though, and so I went with it. Numbers are notoriously difficult to pin down, so view all counts and percentages as estimates.

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  • Associated Press. "The 'unremarkable' sale of gun to student killer." NBC News. April 18, 2007. (April 28, 2013)
  • ATF. "Brady Law." (April 30, 2013)
  • ATF Form 4473. (April 23, 2013)
  • ATF. "Permanent Brady Permit Chart." April 26, 2011. (April 22, 2013)
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics. "The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007." (April 23, 2013)
  • FBI. "National Instant Criminal Background Check System." (April 22, 2013)
  • FBI. "National Instant Criminal Background Check System: Reports and Statistics." (April 22, 2013)
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