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

Posted on: 1:27 pm, December 11, 2013, by , updated on: 02:14pm, December 11, 2013

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.


  • SPQR says:

    Great, so where are the 72 convictions?

    Probably nonexistent. Many denials occur because of erroneous records in the court system and are later overturned on appeal. The reality is that few real criminals even attempt background checks.

    And that shows up in the fact that these people almost never are charged for the attempt.

  • Marvin says:

    This story doesn’t have all the facts needed to show that the new law is working, and still it states it’s working. How many were denied gun purchases through background checks before the new law went into effect? Is 72 denials an increase over the same time period last year? Show all the facts so we can reach our own conclusions.

  • Stan says:

    “Dozens of criminals would be walking around with a gun right now if not for the new law,” LOL..really? Just because the law stopped them from purchasing one “legally” does not mean they did not find one else were. They are called criminals for a reason! Gun laws do not stop criminal from finding and buying a gun!!!

  • D Alberson says:

    I worked for a FFL licensed pawn broker for years. We always had someone have an issue when trying to get their firearm back after pawning them. We also had this occur on normal firearms purchases. I’d like to know if this article is based on background checks in run on normal transactions at FFL dealers or if it is separate private buyer transactions. 72 seems kind of small if you calculate how many FFL dealers are in Colorado and how many bad background checks occurred even before the new law.

  • In reports the weekend after Thanksgiving, we learned there were 331,620 background checks total run through October.

    That means an average of 33,162 a month. So, we can extrapolate and assume there were 364,782 total background checks through November.

    That means, the checks for private sales amount to just 1.3% of all background checks. But,since the law only went into effect July 1st, we can again use the monthly average to estimate total checks since the new law = 165,810. Or, 2.9% of all checks since the new law went into effect.

    3%. What happened to this 40% he gun control advocates kept screaming about. Wait, could it be most people aren’t complying with the law?

    Of those 4,792, how many were for temporary transfers over 72 hours? How many were on friends of people that had been displaced by the firs or floods and had to ask someone to safeguard their firearms for them indefinitely while they sorted out their living situation?

    My guess on the temporary transfer requirement of the law? ZERO.

    Few people will argue that background checks are not good. The problem is this law is over reaching (temporary transfers) and ease of facilitation was not incorporated – worse, they slapped a new $10 fee on it (in addition to $25+ service fees the 10-20% of FFLs that will even do them) which only encourages non compliance further.

    While I disagree it was necessary, expanding checks could prove beneficial if done the RIGHT way.

    - No fees
    - Go / No go decision (no 4473, no serial numbers)
    - Open CBI to public via phone, internet (easy with just go / no go)
    - No temporary transfers
    - Encourage it’s use via working with the industry

    Because it involves CBI, they can determine it’s use. Now, about those magazines….how many arrests / charged for possessing a magazine over 15 rounds that was obtained after the new law?

  • dapandico says:

    The spin cycle from the LSM continues.

  • Dave in Colorado says:

    The headline reads “Background checks stopped 72 gun sales to convicted criminals”

    Attempts to purchase a firearm by a prohibited person is a federal offense. I’d really like to see a follow up report on how many of those 72 are prosecuted under either federal of Colorado law. What good is having the laws if the people running this state refuse to prosecute the criminals for federal crimes or felony crimes in Colorado. I’d like to know exactly who they are and why these 72 supposed criminals are not being prosecuted.

  • doesn’t everybody feel so much safer now? What a joke. These liberal lawmakers make me shake my head. Liberal – LameIgnorantBlindEgotisticalRacistLosers!!!!!

  • Kim says:

    I want to know why a person convicted of homicide is not prison!

  • Hi Kim – I was wondering the same thing but after re-reading the article it did say convicted OR charged. So I guess even if you’re proven innocent but have been charged, you’re still considered a criminal. Funny……

  • champ says:

    Why would a criminal agree to a background check? I bet almost every one of these 72 denials was a false positive.

  • Marvin says:

    James Holms passed a background check. This is nothing more than a law to raise money for the state to waste.

  • David Horton says:

    I wonder if Rhonda “Rap Sheet” Fields could pass a back ground check?

    I would still like the law repealed. Its still burdensome and an harassment of law abiding people.

  • What a crock. 1st of all, the new law pertains to other than dealer or store sales, such as home to home, or home to other, so this is so misleading it’s just amazing. Second, any number of the denials can and are often overturned due to new info being submitted that changes the outcome of the denial to an approval. Dumbfounds me that the left would try and put this out like this. By the by, I can assure you those 72, if they are in fact criminals, know where to go to get their weapons elsewhere.

  • SPQR says:

    The data even shows that half of the 72 denials were for reasons not even listed “All Other”. With no explanation.

    The idea that there were only 4702 private “transfers” over four months is not credible either. That figure seems ridiculously low and I suspect a large number of people are ignoring the law entirely. Most out of ignorance, given the silliness and incoherence of Fields’ incompetent legislation.

  • ­­­­­­­­­my best friend’s half-sister makes $62/hr on the internet. She has been laid off for six months but last month her pay check was $21344 just working on the internet for a few hours. look at this now….


  • Kev says:

    Amazing how a bunch of people here are sarcastic or against background checks. If it even is a chance at making life a little safer isn’t it worth it? You only mock it until it hits too close to home.

  • Emily says:

    I totally agree, Kev. By the way, I’ve never met a racist liberal, isn’t that more of a republican thing? That actually made me laugh out loud.

  • Daniel says:

    There are very few of us in Colorado (FFL holders) that are even performing these private transfers because of the liabilities involved. I would be amazed if there have been 72 denials listed under CBI as private transfers. That is many times over the total amount of private transfers I have completed since July 1st. Do not trust these numbers at all.

  • SPQR says:

    Kev, you don’t understand the issues with the law at all, obviously. The Colorado law criminalizes very ordinary and innocent actions like loaning a firearm to a friend. In Weld County, the District Attorney had to specifically tell the public that he wouldn’t enforce the law where it criminalized people whose homes were destroyed leaving their firearms in storage with friends.

    Your “close to home” crack is shown to be nothing but slander by the background check’s numbers themselves.

    However, even failing the check does not mean that one is a criminal. It has a high rate of false positives:

  • One of these days, liberals will lose their hold on this state. When that happens, we will get a chance to see what conservatism can do for Colorado. This law goes too far in many respects, but is an attempt to close the back door to criminal activity. The reality is, criminals don’t mind breaking the law. That’s the definition of being criminal…

    We are a state which legalized (and made constitutional) the possession and use of recreational pot; we are also a state that made gun ownership harder. When did Colorado become a hippie’s haven?

    What’s needed is a new fire and love of liberty and traditional values. Colorado needs the American Constitution Party. Join it, support it, and vote for it.

  • And how exactly does it make it safer Kev? Don’t you think these people can find another avenue to get a gun? Of course not because you have your head buried in the sand.

  • Dean Schulze says:

    The background check law didn’t stop James Holmes from buying a gun. He passed a background check.

    The entire background check system fails because the mentally dangerous are not included. This is largely due to objections by the mental health profession.

  • jeff says:

    Good step forward in preventative measures. I myself found it annoying to wait, however the price of freedom is never free. I believe that if your lifestyle is cramped by this law so be it. We may have prevented several deaths from gun violence just by waiting. I myself in boot camp refused to give a weapon to a drunk captain from the armory I was guarding. A month later he killed his wife because someone wasnt paying attention, and gave him his gun during a drunken rage. Please be aware of the WRONG situation or individual buying a gun for the WRONG reasons.

  • M. Rutkowski says:

    You cannot possibly conclude that we “saved” anyone. Its just more conjecture from those that seem to love compromise until it becomes inconvenient for them, sort of like a NIMBY. Do you really think a convicted murderer agreed to a background check, knowing full well that it would be denied? Yeah, I don’t think so. Give us the real stats on how many of these were false positives.

  • Pat Hines says:

    All of Colorado’s new gun confiscation laws are illegal.

    No one should obey them.

  • MacDaddyWatch says:

    How many of those 72 denied have already made black-market purchases? Buying a gun is as easy as buying a second-hand bicycle.

  • SPQR says:

    Jeff, your speculation and made up scenarios are no reason to infringe a constitutional right.

    Maybe if you had “waited” to speak …

  • jon middler says:

    SPQR, after reading most of the other posts, you’re actually going to draw the line and conclude that JEFF is the one speculating? You’re a “special” kind of stupid, huh?

  • J.A. Corley says:

    Jeff. your comment ” I myself in boot camp refused to give a weapon to a drunk captain from the armory I was guarding.” Proves that you are lying and have never served.

    A PVT having access to the arms room in basic…………. You need to watch better movies.

    Back to topic I have had two of my troops denied on a check in the last six months. Only to get the record straight and purchase a gun later. As has been said there are many “false positives” that happen.

    Taking the first set of data without follow up proves nothing because all 72 of them should have been charged and convicted……..

    Show us how many of the 72 have even been charged. I bet not one. So that means the law is a failure since after they failed and were not arrested they went out and committed more crimes. Just a thought.

  • Hwy says:

    I am totally in support of ALL the gun laws passed. I realize this will not stop ALL gun violence, but their isn’t a law in existence that prevents ALL crime. That’s just not realistic. So a potential gun purchase requires a minor inconvenience? I’m solidly ok with that. And even if the 72 was cut in half, or even down to one, it’s still a positive. I applaud the legislators for taking on this contentious issue. I realize to some people guns are extremely important, but they should never be held at a higher value than human life.
    No problem with a “Hippy Haven”. Peace.

  • How many of the 72 instances cited were all the same person trying multiple times to get a gun? How many criminals simply stole a gun, or used one that they’ve had for a long time? This story is a lame attempt to suggest that bigger government is somehow the solution to our problems.

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