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Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton claimed Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that “almost 50 percent of gun sales do not happen through federally licensed dealers.”
Current research shows that the majority of guns are sold through federally licensed dealers.
Fact - Check
By federal law, all gun dealers must obtain a license in order to sell firearms. There’s also a “secondary market” of unlicensed hobbyists who infrequently sell guns on the internet and elsewhere, and only 16 states regulate the private sale of these firearms.
Sellers - Checks - Buyers - Control - Advocates
Private sellers aren’t federally required to run background checks on buyers, so gun control advocates often use statistics about the proportion of unlicensed sellers to imply large gaps in background checks. A popular, but dubious claim is that 40 percent of guns are privately sold.
The estimate comes somewhat close to the “almost 50 percent” claimed by Moulton, but it’s an outdated statistic derived from a 1994 survey of gun owners. In addition, Moulton makes a claim about “gun sales,” but the survey asks about gun “transactions,” a broader term that counts inherited, gifted or traded guns as well.
Estimate - Changes - Guns - Fact-checkers - Washington
The estimate changes substantially when counting purchased guns alone. Fellow fact-checkers at The Washington Post asked a co-author of the study to rerun the numbers for gun sales specifically, and he found that only 14 to 22 percent of gun purchases did not involve a background...
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