According to rumor, the White House will shortly close a legal loophole that currently lets a large number of guns move from one set of hands to another without a background check. Evidently Obama will issue an EO that redefines what it means to be a gun dealer by substantially reducing the number of private transfers that can be made, thereby forcing gun owners to acquire a federal license which will effectively require that every gun transfer beyond a minimum number go through a NICS-background check.
Which brings up the ultimate question, namely, if we had universal background checks, what would this mean in terms of reducing gun violence overall? Right now the CDC tells usthere are 30,000+ intentional gun deaths and 65,000 intentional gun injuries every year. There are also 17,000+ unintentional gun injuries, fatal and non-fatal, each year. We can probably discount most, if not nearly all unintentional injuries because they usually involve the legal owner of a gun and/or his/her children or friends. We can also discount the 20,000+ suicides, which leaves somewhere around 75,000 acts of gun violence each year for which, in theory, universal background checks should help reduce the toll. But by how much?
In fairness to the researchers who are concerned with this problem, they were not trying to figure out the impact of universal background checks per se. Webster and Wintemute have come up with a very comprehensive summary of research on…