New FBI data shows that the number of gun retrievals has reached an all-time high due to failed background checks between 2020 and 2021. At the same time, there have been more orders issued now than ever before in the federal firearm background check system.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2020 there were 6,361 firearm retrieval referrals issued. These were issued due to the individual’s background check being ineligible due to a criminal record, disqualifying military service records, mental health history, and several other such record issues. In 2021, the number of referrals was slightly lower at 5,203. Still, the cumulative amount of referrals in those two years is the largest number since 1998 when the National Instant Criminal Background Check System first began.
In June 2020, the number of referrals increased tremendously with 1,406 referrals being issued. The following year, 2021, the highest number of referrals issued in a month was 931.
Individuals have the chance to inquire about the reason that their initial request was denied. According to the NICS background check data, in 2020 only 1.45% of processed transactions were denied, while in 2021 1.26% were denied. The data for 2022 has not yet been released.
According to the FBI, the retrieval orders are only a smart percentage of the millions of gun checks processed between those two years. This new data comes at a time when many states have sought to pass more gun control laws.