Las Vegas Review-Journal Debunks Itself With Contradictory Statements About Background Check Effectiveness

The Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) published a misleading and contradictory editorial about the effectiveness of expanded background checks in preventing gun violence, omitting crucial statistics showing the value of gun violence prevention measures.

Las Vegas Review-Journal Provided Contradictory Statements On The Effectiveness of Background Checks

The Review-Journal Editorial Board Argued That Background Checks Are Ineffective In Preventing “Criminals From Obtaining Weapons.” In the September 14 editorial, the Las Vegas Review-Journal claimed that background checks are an ineffective means of gun violence prevention:

Regardless, as has been shown countless times, criminals are not going to follow any gun control law. Despite some of the nation's stiffest gun-ownership restrictions, Chicago has had a rash of gun deaths in recent years, so much so that researchers from Duke University and the University of Chicago conducted a study to determine where the guns were coming from. As the Washington Free Beacon's Stephen Gutowski reported, the study -- to be published in the October edition of Preventive Medicine -- consisted of interviews with 99 inmates at Chicago's Cook County Jail who had illegally possessed a gun within six months of their incarceration. The study found that most criminals only acquired guns from people they knew and trusted -- almost exclusively from family, friends, fellow gang members, etc.

In other words, background checks do not deter criminals from obtaining weapons. Expanded background checks will do nothing to keep such criminals from perpetrating gun violence. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 9/14/15]

But The Review-Journal Contradicted Itself By Acknowledging That “Background Checks Can Help Prevent Tragedies.” In the same editorial in which the Review-Journal claimed background checks do not deter criminals, the editorial board also said background checks do serve an effective role in “preventing tragedies”:

Background checks can help prevent tragedies, particularly when they keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders. In fact, the 2015 Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 175, which prohibits any person who has been convicted of domestic violence from buying or owning firearms and stipulates that anyone subject to an order of protection cannot buy or acquire a gun, either. Further, Senate Bill 240 passed, requiring swifter reporting to the state's background check database of people who have been adjudicated mentally incompetent, among other measures. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 9/14/15]

In Fact, Data Suggests That States With Background Check Laws Have Lower Crime Rates

Everytown For Gun Safety: Background Checks Are Effective In Reducing Gun Violence. According to a January 2015 report by gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety from, from 2008 through 2012 there were significantly “fewer intimate partner gun homicides” in states requiring background checks on all handgun sales:

Throughout the study period, 14 states and the District of Columbia required all gun buyers to undergo background checks before buying handguns in unlicensed sales, and 36 states did not. During that period, the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement recorded 911 gun homicides of women by current or former intimate partners in the former group of states, and 2,199 in the latter. Adjusting for population, there were 46 percent fewer intimate partner gun homicides of women in states that require background checks for all handgun sales than in states that do not. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 1/15/15]

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: The Repeal Of Missouri's Background Check Law Coincided With An Increase In Murders. Researchers from the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University calculated that the repeal of Missouri's permit-to-purchase law, which required gun purchasers pass a background check before legally obtaining a weapon, “contributed to a fourteen percent increase in Missouri's murder rate”:

Missouri's 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law, which required all handgun purchasers to obtain a license verifying that they have passed a background check, contributed to a fourteen percent increase in Missouri's murder rate.


“This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence,” said Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and the study's lead author. “There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri's handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed.” [Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2/17/14]

National Background Checks Prevented The Sale Of Almost 2 Million Firearms In System's First 15 Years, Largely To Criminals And The Mentally Ill. In April 2013, days before bipartisan legislation drafted in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was defeated by gun advocates in Congress, NBC News reported that between 1994 and 2009, nearly 1.8 million applications for firearms transfers were denied under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993:

The numbers show that background checks do keep guns out of the hands of at least some people who are not supposed to have them. Nearly 1.8 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were denied between the passage of the law in March 1994 and December 2008, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The FBI and state law enforcement denied firearm purchases to 153,000 people in 2010 alone, the most recent year for which data is available. [, 4/10/13; Media Matters, 4/11/13]

And Polling Shows High Approval Ratings For Background Checks & Other Gun Violence Provisions

Review-Journal: “78 Percent Of Nevadans Support Requiring A Criminal Background Check.” According to a Public Policy Polling survey reported by the Review-Journal, 78% of Nevadans support background checks for firearm sales:

The survey of 688 Nevada voters was conducted Jan. 20-21 by Public Policy Polling for the liberal groups, ProgressNow Nevada and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

According to the poll, 78 percent of Nevadans support requiring a criminal background check of every person who wants to buy a firearm. Some 14 percent were opposed and 8 percent weren't sure. [Las Vegas Review-Journal,1/26/14]

National Polls Confirm A Majority Of Americans Support Background Checks. According to a July 2014 Quinnipiac University poll, the overwhelming majority of Americans support background checks for “all gun buyers,” including 92 percent of gun owners, 86 percent of Republicans, and 98 percent of Democrats, in a national survey of likely voters:

American voters support 92 - 7 percent, including 92 - 6 percent among gun owners, requiring background checks for all gun buyers. Support ranges from 86 - 11 percent among Republicans to 98 - 2 percent among Democrats. [Quinnipiac University, 7/3/14; Media Matters, 12/11/14]