The Center for American Progress brings us this infographic examining background checks. Though not as well known as the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed just a year earlier, which required all federally licensed firearm dealers to perform a background check on every gun purchaser before finalizing a sale.
Of those who have been prevented from owning a firearm 58.4 percent were felons, 9.6 percent were fugitives, 10.2 percent were domestic abusers/misdemeanor criminals, 8.2 percent were drug addicts and 1.1 percent of the severely mentally ill were prevented from owning a gun through the use of background checks.
Additionally, several major shootings in the past several decades were acquired via non-background check avenues. The shooters at Aroura, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and Brookfield all obtained guns without background checks.
Requiring background checks of all gun purchasers to ensure that he/she is eligible to own and operate a firearm has prevented dangerous individuals from obtaining them in the past. However, the effective implementation of the law is another concern. Yet the death toll continues to rise, leading many to question if the status quo is serving the country's safety needs.