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Publication Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2010 - Statistical Tables

Allina D. Lee, BJS, Ronald J. Frandsen, Gene A. Lauver, Dave Naglich, REJIS

February 12, 2013    NCJ 238226

Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2010. These statistical tables provide the estimated number of firearm applications and denials since the inception of the Brady Act in 1994 through 2010. The tables include estimates of applications and denials conducted by each type of approval system from 1999 to 2010. The tables also provide data on reasons for denial, appeals of denied applications, arrests for falsified applications and outstanding warrants, and counts of records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Index of persons prohibited under federal law from receiving or possessing a firearm. The Bureau of Justice Statistics' Firearm Inquiry Statistics program annually surveys state and local checking agencies to collect information on firearm background check activity and combines this information with FBI NICS transaction data.


  • Since the inception of the Brady Act, over 118 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were subject to background checks. About 2.1 million applications, or 1.8%, were denied.
  • In 2010, 1.5% of the 10.4 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were denied by the FBI (approximately 73,000) or by state and local agencies (approximately 80,000).
  • Among the 21 state agencies that reported reasons for denial, a felony conviction or indictment was the most common reason to deny an application in 2010 (31%). A state law prohibition (16%) was the second most common reason (excluding other prohibitions).

Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

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