How gun background checks work? A look into the current system

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Weapons law: What goes into a Federal background check?

Federal law requires that all state-licensed firearms dealer conduct a background check for future gun buyers before selling a gun. What is going on in the background-check?

In the Wake of the mass high-school shootings in Florida earlier this month, President Trump is seemingly open for the strengthening of the Federal government’s background checks.

“During the consultations, and revisions will be considered, the President supports the efforts to improve the Federal background-check system,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Sunday, adding that the President has the Senate majority spoken whip John Cornyn a bill to “improve the Federal government’s compliance with the criminal background check legislation.”

Here’s a view of how the federal background-check work and what they have to say activists and experts.

What happens if you want to buy a gun?

In order to buy a gun from a federal firearms licensed dealer (FFL), a consumer ID and a federal background check usage, the Bureau of Alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives’ 4473 form.

The first page of the document requires basic information, including the buyers full name, address, gender, birthday, and ethnicity. A social security number is recommended but not required.

The form also asks the buyer criminal background, immigration status, and mental health information could be used in a consumer refuses. These questions include:

  • Have you ever been convicted, in any court of a felony, or other crime, for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more than a year, even if you have a shorter sentence including probation?
  • Are you an unlawful user, or addicted to, marijuana or any sedative, stimulant, narcotic drug or other controlled substance?
  • You have since the dismissal from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions?
  • Have you ever been convicted, in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?

Lie on the Federal form is a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a$ 250,000 fine, an ATF spokeswoman confirmed to Fox News. Penalty shoot-out is also at the top of the form.

Once the form is completed, the dealer will submit it to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), online or by phone. Then, almost immediately, the licensed seller know how it goes with the sale:

  • Go: If NICS gives the seller approach, then the sale can be continued.
  • Canceled or Denied: Should the network cards, select the form, as “canceled” or “denied” is the seller legally sell the gun to the buyer. Michael Smith, vice president for marketing and media, the Hinterland of the Armory group, a firearm dealer in Simpsonville, S. C., told Fox News that he, in General, the customer contact information for a local attorney, who takes care of the restoration of firearm rights in the event of a failed background check is wrong. There were times the police arrived at the weapon shop to the arrest of the customer who can’t legally buy a gun, Smith said.
  • Delayed: If the background check raises a “delayed” response of the network cards, the seller may complete the transaction for a minimum of three working days. Unless there is a specific “denied” designation is issued, the seller will be able to get the transaction to complete with the customer that the time limit elapses, in accordance with the Federal law.

Before a 4473 form, Robbie Wheaton, Vice-President of the Wheaton Arms Inc is filled in. gun shop in Piedmont, S. C., said he takes the customers. If a customer appears to be intoxicated or “shady” – to talk, for example, a cheating spouse – dealer does not sell that person a gun.

“A shop has a last right to say “no”, based on the behavior of a person, whether you are selling a firearm, or not.”

– Robbie Wheaton, Vice-President of the Wheaton Arms, Inc. in South Carolina

“As a federal firearms licensee, we have the right to be in the position to refuse the transfer of arms to anyone,” said the Wheaton Fox News. “A shop has a last right to say “no”, based on the behavior of a person, whether you are selling a firearm, or not.”

Smith praised the background check system, as there are other flag deviations for the seller, such as an old Problem.

South Carolina law, for example, prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing a long gun (like an AR-15) and people under 21 to buy a pistol, gun or other firearm, he said. To check the background, can prevent the seller, shows particularly in hectic gun, accidentally selling a gun to someone who is not said of old, Smith.

Why do I need to check a full background?

Thanks to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the FBI, the NICS created in the year 1998. The system should immediately allow a firearms dealer to know whether a buyer is legally allowed a gun.

According to the FBI, more than 230 million tests have been carried out, the cashiers have been issued prior to a purchase, and more than 1.3 million denials since the system was implemented.

This process is the same in every state?


Not to go In South Carolina, for example, a consumer that already need a hid weapons permit to check a background to buy a gun in the state, a number of dealers in the Palmetto state, told Fox News.

Also, state laws can be superseded by Federal law. The 4473 form asks the consumer about the use of marijuana. Those who rejected the drug in States where recreational or medical use is legal, a gun, Wheaton said.

In Hawaii, after the first legal medical marijuana dispensary opened in the state in 2017, local law enforcement authorities, the user was asked to rotate the gun owners, they reported in their weapons within 30 days, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

This system is strong enough?

It depends on who you ask.

Jonas Oransky, Deputy legal director of every town for Gun Safety”, a non-profit, advocates for stronger gun control, praised the background check system, but said that there are “significant gaps.”

In particular, Oransky the Organisation refers to a “private sale loophole.” Federal law requires licensed dealers to complete background checks, but people can also classifieds the purchase of weapons from a private seller such as a friend or through online websites, such as ( prompts the user to “accept” terms and conditions of use document, which confirms the site does not certify or investigate transactions and tells the user to use the site for “illegal purposes.”)

“It doesn’t matter, it is obligatory, when people sell on a large scale,” Oransky told Fox News. “It’s not that all sellers are dangerous or devious, but buyers know that you can skip the background check, can a non-licensed sellers.”

Wheaton was said in the firearms business full time since 2007, he and other licensed seller try to convince you to transfer customers ‘ guns through a licensed dealer, so a credit check can be carried out.


White house: Trump to back the efforts of the improvement of background checks

Oransky also pointed to the so-called “Charleston loophole”, with the dealer selling guns to a customer before you have completed a background check – if the NICS marked a document as a “too late”, but does not approve or deny within five working days. He said, a disproportionately large number of buyers, it is completed to check a gun in front of a background that are domestic offenders, relying on complex data sets, and temporary injunctions, that the investigators need the extra time to read or discuss with the competent law enforcement authority.

“The FBI should be the time you will need to check a background. It is more important than an acceleration of the sales to people who don’t have a weapon should have,” he said.

On the other hand, Second Amendment advocates argue that the background-check system already to much.

“We do not believe that it is the right thing for the people to prove their innocence to the government in the exercise of their God-given right,” says Erich Pratt, Director of gun owners of America, a Virginia-based gun rights nonprofit, told Fox News.


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“Our rights are listed in the Bill of Rights for a reason,” he continued. “The rights of people are violated, resulting in some cases in the death and in other cases, extreme discomfort in the location for the purchase of firearms.”

Pratt also said the background-check system didn’t do its job, as some of the recent mass Shooter in the United States, including the suspect in the fatal shooting of 17 people in Parkland, Fla., able to pass background checks.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

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