Missing Records: Holes in Background Check System Allow Illegal Buyers to Get Guns

by Jim Kessler

May 1, 2007
An updated look at the problems with the nation's firearms purchase background check system. This report, issued in the wake of the nation's worst-ever mass shooting at Virginia Tech, updates a 2002 look at the records in background check system. We conclude that the system has improved in the last five years, but as evidenced by Seung-Hui Cho's ability to pass two firearms purchase background checks, major holes remain. For example, 91% of those who should be barred by virtue of their mental illness (like Cho) are not in the system.
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