A year into the addition of legislation increasing background checks for the sale of firearms, data compiled by The Associated Press has shown that the legislation didn’t accomplish all that much.
A devastating string of shootings last year lead Democratic lawmakers in Colorado to introduced gun restrictions meant to deter future tragedies, but questions have been raised about its effectiveness.
A non-partisan Colorado Legislative Council review estimated that background checks for the purpose of keeping guns away from those with a criminal past would result in 420,000 reviews over a two-year period. Instead, only 13,600 reviews have been conducted in the first year, leading to accusations of poor fiscal management in the form of a wasted $3 million dollar budget. It is not yet clear how much of the budget has gone unspent.
The figures were projected based on a 1997 report conducted by the National Institute of Justice.
Despite incredibly poor performance on the background checks for private sellers, state Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, the main sponsor of the legislation, was optimistic although she did admit of the possibility of fiscal mismanagement.
“I’m not discouraged by the lower number. I think that it’s a good number, because it shows me that people are complying with the law,” she said. “I’m going to be asking some questions because I want to be a good steward of our tax dollars.”
However, Republican lawmakers view the dramatic underperformance of background check legislation as a vindication of their original concerns, noting that what they regard as clear infringement of rights has not lead to better outcomes. Current laws extend background checks to online sales, as well.
“Nothing good came of the passage of the law, except we found out just how anti-gun Democrats in Colorado are,” said GOP state Sen. Greg Brophy.
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