Research 5 — U.S. Government Accountability Office


From the years 2006 to 2015, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO, for short) conducted a study (Analyzing Available Data Could Help Improve Background Checks Involving Domestic Violence Records) on background checks and how efficient they really were in preventing people who shouldn’t have guns from getting those guns. What they found was that, while most states do submit domestic violence records, which are misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence convictions and domestic violence protection orders to the FBI, these states could go a step further—but only some do.

In 2015, only 22 states choose to help out the FBI and “flag” records that would prevent people from getting their hands on guns. This meant that these states would go through and mark certain records that would prohibit someone from owning a gun. Thus, when a gun dealer has to submit a background check of someone to the FBI, it is easier for the FBI to see that a certain potential buyer has been flagged, making their response time for the “proceed” or “deny” response to the gun dealer quicker. This also helps prevent anything from slipping through the cracks.

Courtesy of U.S. GAO

This table shows how much has slipped through the cracks, however. While there were many denials, a couple numbers are important. First, out of the 59,000 denials, 18,000 of them came after three days. If the FBI does not give a “proceed” or “deny” to a dealer within three days, the dealer can go ahead with business. This leads to the 6,221 firearm transfers. This number represents the amount of people with domestic violence convictions that got their hands on a gun, because the government process was too slow to prevent them. Overall, the study realized that there are a lot more hoops to jump through and obstacles to get past for domestic violence convictions to become a prohibiting factor in gun ownership.


This government report, while occurring during a presidency that was for stricter gun control laws, provides the facts and an explanation of those facts, with nothing more. They explain how the study was conducted, the numbers of the study, why they performed the study, and their recommendations. The GAO is a legitimate government agency, and the web page that they posted this study on is authentic as well.


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