National firearm background checks dipped slightly in 2014 after year-over-year increases for over a decade, according to a recent Governing article that reviewed National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data. Mike Maciag, the magazine’s data editor, speculated that the “lower tallies last year likely resulted from an unusually high total in 2013, particularly in the months following the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.,” when lawmakers debated new firearm legislation.
Survey research also raises questions about the connection between background checks and firearm ownership. Although firearm background checks have steadily increased, the share of households that report owning guns has dropped from nearly half in the 1970s and early 80s to one-third today, according to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
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