Kentucky leads nation in firearms background checks but not all equal sales

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Kentucky has performed nearly twice as many NICS Firearm background checks as the state that lands number two on the list.

According to FBI statistics, through October 2015, there have been more 2,613,656 Federal firearms background checks in Kentucky. California ranks second with 1,328,017.  Indiana is 7th on the list at 732,549.

Kentucky has an estimated population of 4.4 million people, so could Kentuckians have purchased that many guns? Attorney Aaron Silletto thinks there’s a simple explanation.

“So whether it’s obtaining a conceal carry permit, being able to reissue a conceal carry permit or anything like that, all of that is funneled through the Federal system”, explained Silletto.

Digging deeper into the FBI statistics, we learned 2.4 million of the Kentucky federal firearm background checks are in a category entitled “permit.”

Silletto said the Kentucky State Police relies upon the Federal system when doing its checks on conceal and carry permit holders. A spokesperson for the department could not confirm nor deny whether they regularly re-file background checks on those permit holders.

Silletto thinks they do, and that would account for Kentucky leading the nation by such a large margin.

“So they’re going to continue to do background checks on you periodically even when you’re not buying firearms or even if you’re not getting a new permit”, Silletto said. “I think, if anything, it means Kentucky is pretty vigilant about making sure the people with licenses to carry concealed weapons are qualified to do so.”

Barry Laws owns Openrange in Crestwood, Kentucky. His gun shop saw a record day on Black Friday, the same day the FBI reported was the biggest day in the history of the NICS firearms background check system.

He was surprised by Kentucky’s large lead in background checks but can appreciate Aaron Silletto’s theory as to why the Commonwealth leads in that statistic.

“That would be wonderful”, said Laws. “And that’s what we’re all after is for them to check up on what’s going on in the system and make sure somebody hasn’t become a prohibitive person that shouldn’t have a firearm. That would make sense.”

More than 400,000 of Indiana’s 700,000 background checks were in that “permit” category.