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October 18, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Because Missouri doesn’t require licenses for firearm owners or registration for the weapons themselves, it’s hard to count how many guns are sold and owned in the state.
But every time someone purchases a firearm from a licensed dealer, that dealer submits information about the buyer to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Those background checks are counted to estimate sales.Related Articles
Background checks are the only reliable public data Missourians have. But in Missouri and many other states, it’s legal for a nondealer to sell a firearm to another person without submitting a background check. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, about 40 percent of all gun sales in the U.S. are sold by these unlicensed sellers.