Background Checks for Firearm Transfers
The 2012 statistical tables released as part of the Background Checks for Firearm Transfers Series describe background checks for firearm transfers and provide information regarding the estimated number of firearms applications and denials since the inception of the Brady Act in 1994 through 2012. The tables include estimates of applications and rejections conducted by each type of approval system and state-level estimates for application and denial rates, including reasons. The Bureau of Justice Statistics, Firearm Inquiry Statistics Program, annually surveys state and local agencies to gather information on firearm background-check activity. This information is combined with FBI data.
Since the inception of the Brady Act on March 1, 1994 through December 31, 2012, almost 148 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were subject to background checks. More than 2.4 million applications (1.6 percent) were denied. There were 15.7 million applications for firearm transfers in 2012, an increase of more than 5 million applications since 2010. Approximately 1.2 percent of the 15.7 million applications for firearm transfers or permits in 2012 were disapproved—about 88,000 by the FBI and 104,000 by state and local agencies. Among state agencies, denial rates in 2012 were 2.3 percent for purchase permits, 1.5 percent for instant checks, 1 percent for other approvals, and 0.9 percent for exempt carry permits.