Research Shows 1 in 30 Online Gun Buyers is Prohibited from Owning Guns Because of a Criminal Record; Texas Does Not Require Background Checks on All Gun Sales
Second Domestic Violence Shooting Where Prohibited Purchaser Bought Gun from Online Seller in Last Three Weeks
HOUSTON, TEXAS — The Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement in response to emerging details that the Houston shooter, who shot and killed eight people, including his former domestic partner, Valerie Jackson, Wayne Jackson, and six children in their home, was prohibited from purchasing a gun and apparently bypassed a criminal background check by purchasing the firearm used in the shooting from a seller he met online just two weeks ago. Everytown for Gun Safety research has shown that 1-in 30 gun buyers online are prohibited from owning guns because of a criminal record.
Less than three weeks ago in Arizona, 22-year-old Shayley Estes was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in the Phoenix-area home the estranged couple shared. According to law enforcement, the man was prohibited from buying and possessing firearms. He had also abused Shayley and, prior to her murder, she tried to get him to move out. On July 23, just a day before the shooting, Shayley’s killer purchased the gun from an unlicensed seller online in Glendale through a listing posted on the website Backpage.com.
STATEMENT FROM STEPHANIE LUNDY, MEMBER OF THE TEXAS CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION:
“Wake up, Texas! This horrific domestic violence shooting was committed by a felon who was barred from owning guns, and it looks like he bought his gun online — almost certainly in an unlicensed sale — so he could avoid a criminal background check. There is no way to see this tragedy as anything other than a failure of our state and federal lawmakers for lacking the courage and common sense to pass legislation requiring background checks for all gun sales. An untold number of dangerous people exploit unlicensed sales just like these domestic abusers in Arizona and Texas who were prohibited from having guns but bought guns on the Internet with the click of a mouse and used them to murder their partners. The facts are undeniable: in states that require background checks on all gun sales, 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners. Texas moms stand with the majority of Americans who are demanding a vote from our elected leaders to close this dangerous loophole. We will no longer remain silent as our friends and neighbors are shot and killed in their own homes time and time again as our lawmakers sit idle. The time for action is now. ”
Additional Background on Houston Mass Shooting:
- This incident is one of at least 135 mass shootings that have occurred in America since 2009. A previously released report from Everytown for Gun Safety provides a comprehensive analysis of incidents in which four or more people were murdered with a gun, a widely used definition of mass shootings from the FBI.
- Since 2009, there have been 12 mass shootings in Texas. Nine of those 12 involved domestic violence, in which an intimate partner or family member was killed.
- According to media reports, the shooter claims he was able to buy a 9mm handgun online.
- Harris County court records indicate that the shooter had a criminal history that prohibited him from possessing firearms, and an extensive history of domestic violence. In addition to a felony drug conviction, the shooter was convicted in 2013 of assault against a family member, and at the time of the shooting he was facing charges for an additional act of domestic violence against Ms. Jackson. Details are still unfolding.
Additional Research on Background Checks and the Private Sale Loophole:
- A major loophole in our federal gun laws allow unlicensed sellers to sell guns to strangers they meet online and at gun shows without running background check.
- That means criminals, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people can and do buy guns from strangers they meet on sites like Armslist.com with no background checks and no questions asked.
- A 2013 Mayors Against Illegal Guns study found that 1 in 30 gun buyers on Armslist had a criminal record that prohibited them from owning a gun – meaning that single website may transfer 25,000 guns to criminals each year.
- Background checks are a sensible public safety measures that Americans overwhelmingly support. Polls consistently show that more than 90 percent of the country – including 92 percent of gun owners – support criminal background checks on all gun sales.
- Just this year, Oregon became the 18th state to require background checks on all handgun sales.
- Since its inception in 1998, the gun background check system has blocked more than 2.4 million felons and other dangerous people from buying guns.
- In states that require background checks on all hand gun sales:
- 46 percent fewer women are killed by intimate partners;
- There are 48 percent fewer gun suicides; and
- 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns
Additional Research on Domestic Violence and Firearms:
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that the woman will be killed.
- Guns are rarely used in self-protection against domestic violence. According to Everytown for Gun Safety’s intensive review of 105 domestic violence homicides in Arizona, firearms were used 100 times more frequently to murder an intimate partner than to kill an abuser in self-defense.
- Children are also severely affected by domestic violence shootings. During the 105 incidents in Arizona, perpetrators shot 13 children under 17, killing 11 of them. At least 44 other children were physically unharmed but present during the incidents.
- A majority of mass shootings are tied to domestic abuse. Everytown’s analysis of mass shootings from 2009 to 2014 shows that in 57 percent of mass shootings, the shooters killed intimate partners or other family members.
- More than half of women murdered with guns in 2011 — at least 53 percent — were killed by intimate partners or family members.
- 46 percent fewer women are killed by intimate partners;