By Jacob Sullum writing for reason
From the article,
As a response to the horrifying massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two adults, expanding background checks is a non sequitur: The Houston Chronicle reports that the 18-year-old Uvalde shooter, who was killed during the attack, legally purchased the AR-15-style rifle he used last week, which means he did not have a disqualifying criminal or psychiatric record. That was also true of the 18-year-old man charged with murdering 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket on May 14, and it is typically true of mass shooters. According to a recent National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report on public mass shootings from 1966 through 2019, 77 percent of the perpetrators purchased guns legally, while just 13 percent did so through illegal transactions. Even for the small minority of mass shooters who have disqualifying records, an expanded federal background-check requirement would not pose much of an obstacle. Data from states with similar rules, which in practice require that all firearm sales be completed via licensed dealers, indicate that gun owners generally do not comply with that edict. "Universal background checks" are universal only in theory.