AP analysis: Expanded state gun background checks based on flawed estimate

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
he leading Senate negotiations on gun control legislation favor expanding background checks, but the effort would fall short of the universal approach backed by President Barack Obama and many Democrats. (Credit: CNN)

(Credit: CNN)

DENVER — In an analysis of data compiled by the state, The Associated Press found the projected impact of a 1-year-old state law that expanded background check requirements on gun sales in the state was overstated in a budget report.

One lawmaker is wondering if the Legislature misallocated millions of taxpayer dollars based on the estimate.

The gun laws were pushed into law last year in response to mass shootings in Colorado and around the country. The background check requirement was based on information from the Colorado Legislative Council, which predicted 420,000 new reviews in the first two years of the law, and $3 million was budgeted to handle the checks.

But the AP’s analysis shows the Colorado Bureau of Investigation have performed only about 13,600 reviews that would be considered a result of the new law — only 6.5 percent of the estimated total in the first year.

“I’m not discouraged by the lower number,” Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, told the AP. “I think that it’s a good number because it shows me that people are complying with the law.”

CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina told the AP that the $3 million that was budgeted went to hiring and operating expenses. She said about 12 full-time positions were filled, but that “the full authorized staff was not implemented.” The agency has the money for 14 more full-time positions, Medina said.

The AP says there were about 311,000 background checks in the first year of the expansion, with the 13,600 checks between private sellers making up 4 percent of the total. Gun-control advocates and President Barack Obama have long said 40 percent of gun sales in the country are made between private sellers, based on a 1997 report from the National Institute of Justice.

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen told the AP the the 40 percent figure for Colorado’s projection “calls into question lawmakers’ access to accurate information on not only this, but all firearms-related legislation.”

The AP also reported the private review figure includes checks done at gun shows, a longtime requirement in the state. The AP’s analysis shows there were 260 denials under the expansion.

The gun laws have been a hot topic since being implemented, including tension between Gov. John Hickenlooper and the state’s sheriffs.

Last month, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit trying to overturn the new gun laws, though the ruling is being appealed.

On Friday morning, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith took to social media to react to the AP’s analysis.


  • Craig Smith

    Rap sheet Rhonda opening her mouth again. These gun laws are a farce…….NOT ONE CRIMINAL will recognize these stupid laws. And the 15 round law is even more foolish when even sheriffs cant and wont enforce it. Remember her when voting.

  • Anonymous

    Bet less than a quarter didn’t happen at a gun show and that was already a law we had. That and this law hasn’t stopped any private sells really just like you can still get standard capacity mags at some stores. Nowthe oonly important question is did any of the denials get appealed or prosecuted?

  • Dick Peabody

    Hey, this is GREAT news. Just think of it, 12 new government jobs were “created” and the CBI has taxpayer funds for yet another 14 full time positions. That means they get to keep the money and use it on something else. It’s called “vacancy savings.” NO, it WON’T be returned to the General Fund. Dems win again! They protected us from the Bogey Man and they created jobs. WOW! Never mind that the law doesn’t work as intended. What difference does it make, the Dems ask.

  • jeff

    Ive owned guns since I was a kid, and stricter gun control would not bother me a bit. Ive seen damage due to drugs, or other substances where someone was careless, or just flat out mad. Alcohol just intensifies this. We should slow the system down, and if it saves one life then the time and effort were MORE than useful. You have NO good responses to oppose that if you are a concerned citizen

    • Anonymous

      Hey jeff hows the control going on those drugs? When you buy your guns where you buy your drugs you don’t care about the law. Concerned citizens should be worrying about criminals and not law abiding citizens who are protected from people like you. Since your mister bad a$$ gun owner please sign up to take guns away when more “concerned” citizens call for that next. How many times do you have to be shoved towards a cliff before you fight back?

  • jeff

    Did I say take the guns away from citizens? No I did not. I’m talking about something else entirely, or weren’t you paying attention? We weren’t talking about drug addicts robbing people for drug money, a completely different conversation … You should speak to your local PD about the drug dealers outside your house.

  • jeff

    By the way, drug dealers are not always stupid, sometimes they are even smart! You would not sell guns to your customers, THEY would shoot you and steal your drugs! Im supprised no one else picked up on that… just sayn

  • Pootey Tang

    Iv`e sold at least 10 guns since this farce was enacted, no checks. the Sheriff`s have stated it cannot and will not be enforced. Has anyone checked to see i what rap sheet Rhonda has been up to lately? After all she named her kid after favorite department store to shoplift from.

  • S2

    Concerned citizen? Concerned about the bill of rights perhaps? Or the constitution? Maybe about politicians over stepping their boundries? Or perhaps the fact that we have a convicted criminal as an elected official telling law abiding citizens like me whats right and whats wrong? Oh yea, we need to be concerned alright, just make sure you know what you really stand for.

Comments are closed.