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Publication Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 1999

Devon B. Adams, Michael Bowling, Ph.D., Sidra L. Gifford, Gene Lauver

June 4, 2000    NCJ 180882

Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 1999, the first full year of the permanent provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. The report also provides the number of applications checked by State points of contact, estimates of the number of applications checked by local agencies, the number of applications rejected, the reasons for rejection, and estimates of applications and rejections conducted by each type of approval system, including permit approval systems. The Firearm Statistics Inquiry Program, funded under the National Criminal History Improvement Program, and conducted by REJIS in St. Louis, Missouri, is an ongoing data collection effort focusing on the procedures and statistics related to background checks in each State.


  • From the inception of the Brady Act on March 1, 1994, to December 31, 1999, about 22 million applications for a firearm purchase or pawn transaction were subject to background checks of applicants. About 536,000 were rejected.
  • In 1999 alone, 204,000 (2.4%) of approximately 8,621,000 applications for a firearm transfer were rejected by the FBI or State and local agencies
  • Over half of the applications for a firearm transfer were checked directly by the FBI, while the remainder of applications were checked by State or local points of contact (POCs).

Reports covering the Brady interim period, the time prior to the permanent provisions, are in the series Presale Handgun Checks.

Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

Press Release (6K)
PDF (130K)
ASCII file (35K)
Spreadsheet (59K)

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Firearm Inquiry Statistics (FIST) Program

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