Though background checks for gun owners do exist, they haven’t necessarily been an active deterrent against mass shootings. In fact, according to a collection of data on mass shootings created by Mother Jones, since 1982, 82 percent of the weapons used in mass shootings were obtained legally.
Some may initially hold up this data as proof background checks and other forms of gun control don’t work, but as Obama noted in his speech, the existing system has large loopholes. Perhaps the most famous one is the so-called “Gun Show Loophole” — background checks are not required in the private sale of firearms. Similar loopholes exist for the sale of guns on some online sites.
“Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying,” Obama said.
“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world,” he added. “But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.”