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NAT’L – GUN CONTROL – US mass shooters exploited gaps, errors in background checks

Most mass shooters in the U.S. acquired their weapons legally because nothing in their backgrounds disqualified them, reports James Alan Fox, a criminologist with Northeastern University who has studied mass shootings for decades. But in several attacks in recent years, gunmen got weapons as a result of mistakes, lack of follow-through or gaps in federal and state law. Not all gun purchases are subject to a federal background check. Even for those that are, federal law has limited reasons to prohibit a person from buying or owning a firearm. You can’t buy one if you were convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison, are an addict, were involuntarily committed for a mental health issue, were dishonorably discharged from the military, or were convicted of domestic violence or the subject of a restraining order. In 2018, more than 26 million background checks were conducted, and fewer than 100,000 people failed. Of those, the vast majority were for a criminal conviction. Only about 6,000 were rejected for a mental health issue.  [full article]

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