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What are background checks?

Federal law prohibits certain categories of people from having guns, including felons, domestic abusers, and people with certain mental health histories. Background checks enforce these prohibitions by screening potential gun buyers to ensure they don’t fall into one of these categories. When a person buys a gun from a federally licensed dealer, the dealer runs a background check by submitting information to either the FBI or a state agency. Since federal law began requiring background checks in 1994, more than 3.5 million sales to prohibited purchasers have been blocked.

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