BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Home  |  About Us  |  Contact Us  |  Help  |  A-Z Topic List
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Home  | Publication & Product Detail
Publication Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2012 - Statistical Tables

Joseph M. Durso, REJIS, Ronald J. Frandsen, REJIS, Jennifer C. Karberg, REJIS, Alina D. Lee, BJS

December 9, 2014    NCJ 247815

Describes background checks for firearm transfers conducted in 2012. These statistical tables provide the estimated number of firearm applications and denials since the inception of the Brady Act in 1994 through 2012. The tables include estimates of applications and denials conducted by each type of approval system from 1999 to 2012 and provides state-level estimates for application and denial rates. The tables also provide data on reasons for denial. 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 on March 1, 1994, through December 31, 2012, nearly 148 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were subject to background checks. More than 2.4 million applications (1.6%) were denied (table 1).
  • There were 15.7 million applications for firearm transfers in 2012, an increase of more than 5 million applications since 2010.
  • About 1.2% of the 15.7 million applications for firearm transfers or permits in 2012 were denied—about 88,000 by the FBI and nearly 104,000 by state and local agencies (table 2).
  • Among state agencies, denial rates in 2012 were 2.3% for purchase permits, 1.5% for instant checks, 1% for other approvals, and 0.9% for exempt carry permits (table 3).

Part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series

PDF (1.2M)
ASCII file (23K)
Comma-delimited format (csv) (Zip format 63K)

Help for using BJS products

About the Source Data
Firearm Inquiry Statistics (FIST) program

To cite this product, use the following link:

View All Publications and Products

Back to Top