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State: New background check law stopped 72 private gun sales to criminals

(Photo: Thinkstock)

(Photo: Thinkstock)

DENVER — A new law requiring background checks on all gun purchases stopped 72 people from trying to buy a gun through a private sale, new state figures released Wednesday reveal.

According to data provided by the Department of Public Safety, 4,792 background checks on private sales have been performed since the new law took effect in July.

Of those, 72 sales “were blocked because the would-be buyer was convicted of or charged with a serious crime, or was under a domestic restraining order,” said State House Democratic spokesman Dean Toda.

The crimes include homicide, sexual assault, assault, dangerous drugs and larceny/theft, he said.

The other 98 percent of sales were to law-abiding citizens and “went through without a hitch,” he said.

“Dozens of criminals would be walking around with a gun right now if not for the new law,” said Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), who sponsored the background checks law with Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver) and Senate President-designate Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora).

“Our intention was to make our communities safer and make it harder for criminals to get guns. We now have five months of data that prove that the law is working.”

When it was being debated last summer, Republicans called the bill burdensome and an infringement on gun owner’s rights.