Both gun control and gun rights activists would like to see an increase in prosecutions of people who lie on background checks when buying guns.
Lies or inaccurate information on background checks prevented almost 80,000 Americans from purchasing guns in 2010, according to the Justice Department. But only 44, or .06 percent, of those involved in the falsification of information were charged with a crime, The New York Times reports
The White House is looking at that situation while it decides what gun control ideas to pursue in response to the Connecticut school shooting last month. Many possibilities, such as an assault weapons ban, would be difficult to implement because of strong opposition in Congress.
But the lack of prosecution is an easier mark, because the Obama administration can push prosecutors to act on their own. And many gun rights advocates would support the move.
“It has been a longstanding frustration of the National Rifle Association that there’s no follow-through or follow-up on these cases, and criminals, and those who shouldn’t be trying to buy guns have been getting away scot-free,” Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman, tells The Times.
The NRA has “for decades been trying to get prior administrations — Republicans and Democrats — to take action on the matter, but there seems to be no will by the Justice Department to enforce existing gun laws,” he says.
Prosecutors ignore the issue because their focus is on white-collar fraud and terrorism, current and former law enforcement officials tell The Times.
A new Gallup poll shows that 38 percent of Americans believe gun control laws should be strengthened, 43 percent are satisfied with current law, and 5 percent want looser rules.
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