Unreleased Harvard study backs claim 40 percent gun transfers unchecked 

Gun show. (Photo: European Press Photo Agency)

Gun show (Photo: European Press Photo Agency)

Forthcoming research out of Harvard could suggest Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was correct when she stated last week during the first of her party’s debates that 40 percent of guns sold in America are done so without having a background check performed.

Opponents of the figure, namely gun rights advocates, claim the figure is incorrect and outdated, having come from a 1996 report, “Guns in America,” which found that number of respondents acquired their guns through unlicensed source.

The Washington Post lambasted the Democratic frontrunner, who used the term “sales,” but the 1996 survey included the transfer of “gifts.”

The paper also noted the survey used a small sample size of 251 and found that 35.7 percent of respondents didn’t receive their gun through a licensed firearms dealer.    

The new Harvard survey – fast-tracked because of recent interest in the subject – supports the old data and will likely be released in the coming months, lead researcher Dr. Deborah Azrael told The Trace.

Azrael’s survey asked 2,072 respondents about their most recent gun acquisitions and came up with 34 percent as the number of those who acquired their guns somewhere other than through a licensed dealer.

“Almost 40 percent of the transfers in which our (respondents) got their most recent gun did not involve a background check,” Azrael confirmed with Guns.com Thursday in an email. “This includes both gun purchases and other ways of getting a gun (e.g., gifts).

Latest Reviews

  • Tuck & Carry: CCW in a Skirt

    Aimed at those who want the comfort and convenience of a skirt but with the protection of a holstered gun, the Tuck & Carry occupies what I term apparel holsters -- that is clothing/holster duos.

    Read More
  • The Marlin Dark in .45-70 is Stealthy and Modern

    Flash forward the lever gun of Western lore to the 2020s, where Marlin has taken that classic design and given it a modern upgrade. Meet the Marlin Dark.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More