Criminal Background Checks

In Wisconsin, federally licensed gun dealers are required to conduct a background check before selling a gun, but private sellers are not. This has created an enormous unregulated market, where private transactions occur with no background check, no identification, no paperwork, no questions asked.

These anonymous transactions legally take place in streets and alleys, at kitchen tables, through classified ads, out of the trunks of cars, at gun shows, over the Internet and elsewhere. Nationwide, an estimated 40% of guns are sold without a background check in this unregulated portion of the market.

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WAVE favors legislation that would extend the current background check system to all gun transactions.

View our growing coalition of partners who support background checks on all gun sales


Researchers at Johns Hopkins University examined the effects of a Connecticut law requiring prospective handgun buyers to first obtain a permit – by passing a criminal background check. In the...

A study conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that after Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase law, which required a criminal background check...

A report from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Case for Gun...