On April 16—the eighth anniversary of the Virginia Tech attack that left 32 dead and numerous persons wounded—Sen. Timothy Kaine (D-VA) claimed background checks need to be expanded because “40 percent” of all guns are purchased without a background check.”
The Richmond Times-Dispatch did their homework on Kaine’s claim and now show that it is “mostly false.”
According to Times-Dispatch, Kaine’s office said his statement was based on a “1997 study by the U.S. National Institute of Justice that looked at gun owners’s responses to a 1994 national survey that asked them how they acquired their weapons.”
They show this claim is dubious for numerous reasons, including the fact that the researchers who actually conducted the study posited a number as low as “30 percent.” More importantly, the study “was conducted eight months after the Brady Act went into effect, mandating background checks on individuals seeking to buy firearms from federally licensed dealers,” which means even a number as low as “30 percent” is higher than normal because it comes at point in time when Americans were trying to buy all the guns they could before background checks took effect.
Another problem—the study Kaine referenced is 21 years old. A lot has changed in 21 years, and the percentage of guns sold without background checks in recent years could be one of the pertinent changes.
For example, Breitbart News has previously reported that Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho passed a background check for the gun he used to kill 32 and wound 17.
Think about it—the shooter in the very attack Senator Kaine used to highlight the need for background checks actually passed a background check to get his gun.
The Times-Dispatch concludes that Kaine’s statement regarding background checks was “Mostly False.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.