(Dec. 11) – Dozens of criminals have been prevented from buying a gun under a 2013 law that closed the loophole that allowed private sales of firearms to proceed without a background check on the buyer, official statistics show.
Stats released by the state Department of Public Safety at the request of lawmakers show that from the time the background check law went into effect in July through the end of November, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation performed nearly 4,800 background checks on private sales in the state.
After those 4,792 background checks, 72 sales were blocked because the would-be buyer was convicted of or charged with a serious crime, or was under a domestic restraining order. The crimes include homicide, sexual assault, assault, dangerous drugs and larceny/theft. The other 98 percent of the sales were to law-abiding citizens and went through without a hitch.
The data also show an upward trend in the number of private-sale background checks in the first five months the law has been in effect.
“Dozens of criminals would be walking around with a gun right now if not for the new law,” said Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), who sponsored the background checks law with Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver) and Senate President-designate Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora). “Our intention was to make our communities safer and make it harder for criminals to get guns. We now have five months of data that prove that the law is working.”
“The stats directly contradict the contention that criminals would simply evade the law and that it was unenforceable,” Rep. McCann said. “The people of Colorado overwhelmingly support the new law requiring background checks on all gun sales. Anyone who continues to argue against it is going to have to explain to the voters why we would want to make it easier for criminals to get guns.”
“The fact that the month-to-month totals for background checks on private sales is trending upward tells me that gun sellers, buyers and dealers are adapting to the new law, which is doing what it was designed to do – keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous criminals,” Sen. Carroll said.