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1. A national survey found that 22% of U.S. gun owners reported purchasing a firearm in the last two years without a background check, which suggests that millions of U.S. adults are able to purchase a firearm without a background check.

2. The percentage of U.S. gun owners reporting purchasing a firearm without a background check was much higher for residents of states without private firearm sales regulations.

Leading medical, legal, and law enforcement organizations strongly support legislation that requires background checks for private firearm sales, and over 90% of Americans favor universal background checks for firearms purchases. However, background checks for private firearm sales remain unrequired by most states. Due to lack of data, researchers depend on national surveys to approximate the proportion of U.S. gun owners who have purchased a gun without a background check. With the latest data being over 20 years old, the authors used a national survey to provide updated data regarding when, where, and how current U.S. gun owners acquired their latest gun and if a background check was involved in the transaction. The authors found that 22% of gun owners reported purchasing a firearm in the last two years without a background check. Although this percentage has declined from the 40% found in a 1994 survey, these findings suggest that millions of U.S. adults remain able to purchase a firearm without a background check. The authors also found that the percentage of U.S. gun owners reporting purchasing a firearm without a background check was much higher for residents of states without private firearm sales regulations.

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