New DOJ Survey Results Throw Cold Water on Universal Background Checks, ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban

Universal background checks and “assault weapon” bans aren’t likely to have much effect on crime, according to a new DOJ report. (Photo: Nancy Pelosi/Facebook)

Democrats didn’t waste any time proposing a universal background check bill and an “assault weapons” ban when they took control of the U.S. House, but a newly released survey from the Department of Justice indicates (once again) that neither policy is likely to reduce crime.

The 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates (SPI) found that the vast majority (about 90 percent) of state and federal prisoners obtained their firearms using methods that would not be affected by the background check legislation being proposed by Congress. Additionally, the survey confirmed that despite the massive proliferation of semi-automatic rifles in the past decade, only 1.5 percent of all inmates even possessed a rifle during the commission on a crime.

Twenty-one percent of all state and federal inmates reported possessing a firearm when they committed the offense for which they were convicted, but only 13 percent actually used the firearm by showing, pointing, or discharging it.

Of that 21 percent, only 1.2 percent obtained their firearm from a flea market or gun show, 1.2 percent obtained it from a private seller at a retail store, and 5.9 percent obtained it from an “other” source, which could include a private seller.

The rest of the survey respondents obtained their firearm from a source not covered by the new background check bill: a retail store at which a background check was conducted (6.7%), a family member, friend, or straw purchaser (25.3%), the underground market (43.2%), a theft (6.4%), or two “other source” categories (11.5%).

SEE ALSO: Korwin: Here’s Why You Need Oppose Universal Background Checks

In other words, Pelosi’s background check legislation outlawing private sales might shore up (at most) between 8 and 10 percent of crime guns. But that’s assuming that all “other” sources are private sellers and that all gun show and flea market purchases were made from private sellers. The real number is likely much lower.

The numbers don’t look much better for Feinstein’s “assault weapons” ban. We’ve known for years that rifles are used in a near-negligible number of homicides, and the DOJ’s findings are consistent with that trend. The survey found that only 1.5 percent of all prisoners possessed a rifle during the commission of a crime. By contrast, 18.4 percent of prisoners possessed a handgun, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of all types of firearms possessed.

Feinstein and Co. ignore these statistics, of course, focusing instead on how their “assault weapons” ban will stop mass murders, especially at schools. But considering the fact that nine of the mass shootings with the 20 highest death tolls involved handguns or long guns that are not covered by Feinstein’s bill, prohibiting law-abiding citizens from purchasing AR-15s with pistol grips is unlikely to do much good.

The complete 20-page report, including survey questions and methodology, can be found here.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over two years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Nick T January 22, 2019, 1:14 pm

    The truth of the matter is that the so-called pro-2nd community knows little to nothing about what the 2nd actually entails.
    The 2nd amendment is just a small part of the Duty/Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It notes the underlying basis of law. That law is in the State militia statues. If you read the laws that have not been revoked, nor can they be because they are actually an aspect of the Constitution, you’ll find that universal background checks are part of the law. The difference being that the People have control over the checks, and enforce the rules pertaining to the “necessary” parts of law. It is much more efficient, certainly less intrusive, and allows for the community to police itself, and have first hand knowledge of suspicious characters.
    The benefit of the supposed pro-2nd community waking up, and embracing the first Thirteen words of the 2nd would be monumental. The ATF would be disbanded. Politicians who vote for gun control could be indicted, arrested, and imprisoned. We could return the grand jury, the jury, and the proper function of government back to the people.

  • FirstStateMark January 19, 2019, 11:00 am

    It always amazes me that the people with the least knowledge about guns are the ones that want to control them.

  • Rouge1 January 19, 2019, 9:51 am

    If these laws arnt infringments of the 2a we should apply them to voting rights. There should be a background check to get id to vote. No background check no vote.

  • Luis Bonilla January 18, 2019, 11:36 pm

    This posturing for ban this and band that is bullshit .
    Background checks will not do squat , all you have is good honest citizens , and no criminals .
    None of these will stop any criminal from acting out his or crime or violent act with a weapon .

    Just like a drunk who gets arrested and spends a short time in jail if any , will go back out on the street enter a bar and drink , he or she will then get into a car or??? drive without a licence . they were arrested , jailed and driving privilege was taken away . yet they still commit , the same violation . All this happens even after they have caused accidents and injured and or killed someone .
    Terrorists are now using cars to act out there crimes , no police will look for a terrorist among hundreds or thousands of drivers on the streets . A car ( Truck or Bus ) can kill just as many people as a gun or rifle(assault weapon ) can .

    Politician’s will say what is needed to be said so they can stay in office and get victims families to support them , in looking good , by using them as props for getting re-elected or get on TV and News .

    No one has found the real answer to stopping criminals . Laws are made to slow crime not end it .
    Limit this limit that . Horse shit . Ban it , that will not stop anything .

    Humanity will end itself no matter what laws are written .

  • e January 18, 2019, 6:01 pm

    I am starting to believe that some of these Morons in office are stupid enough to actually think this will help. They’re representing a larger group of self blindfolded morons after all.
    “I’m scared of the guns” is easier to accept than “I’m scared of my own family or neighbors”.
    For them its easier to stand behind someone with a gun than to be the one firing back with their own firearm. “DEM guns IS SCARY ya no!?”
    NO! DEM’s are!
    Time to step back and quit acting like two rival sports teams. Offensive line and defensive lines are both needed to win the game. Maybe Bill Belichick should run for POTUS?

  • Buddy January 18, 2019, 11:24 am

    They are afraid that all of their unaccountable crimes will finally piss off enough Americans that they will end up like Gadafi with a cattle prod shoved up their a–. Tyrants all end up with the same fate.

  • Dan White January 18, 2019, 10:33 am

    Remember, Bloomburg, Nancy P. and others of that ilk don’t need guns. They have fully armed bodyguards.

  • Patrick Murphy January 18, 2019, 9:03 am

    The ATF will tell you that assault weapons is a made up term by democrats to ban certain types of sporting rifles.

  • Gerald Brickwood January 18, 2019, 8:58 am

    Take time to go to and read these reports filed at the Nation Criminal Justice Reference System.
    https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/229420.pdf titled “Federal Firearm Cases FY2008” covers all Federal prosecutions for firearms crimes for that year.

    The second report: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/239272.pdf Titled “Enforcement of the Brady Act 2010” details enforcement efforts aimed at those prohibited persons who violate the law by obtaining a gun through licensed sources. The bottom line will shock you.

    Note these are the only reports of federal gun control law enforcement I’ve been able to find afaik the might be more beyond my poor search capabilities and gun controlcrime are not included in th e annual FBI report.

  • BC January 18, 2019, 8:20 am

    AGREED

  • Michael January 18, 2019, 5:42 am

    Wow, near 80 % of crime didn’t involve a gun of any kind. Less than 2% of crime was accomplished with AR type rifle.(so called assault fifle)

  • Dr Motown January 16, 2019, 7:04 am

    Unfortunately, none of this data will be seen by the general public. Only folks interested in this subject will take the time to research it…the rest of the sheeple will hear the drumbeats for confiscation after the next mass shooting by some nut job

  • Jaque January 15, 2019, 12:53 pm

    Once again the reasons for the congressional communists for their onerous and unconstitutional weapons laws is not to save lives or stop crime. The reason for such aggressive gun laws is to remove all guns from society so that they cannot be used to defeat a communist government tyranny. The communist left know that to achieve its goal of a total takeover of US government they must first disarm the people.

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