Tags: Gun Rights | Friday | guns | background | checks

Gun-Buy Background Checkers Overwhelmed, Fear Black Friday

By    |   Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 08:29 PM

While gun-control advocates keep up the pressure for extended background checks on firearms buyers, last year the federal background check system already in place allowed 186,000 purchased guns to be handed over to their buyers before background checks were completed.

Now, clerks with the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, who are charged with running the background checks, are hunkered down, knowing that Black Friday will bring a huge surge of new firearms purchasers to be checked, and knowing that many of the guns will make it into buyers' hands before the checks are done.

The Associated Press reports that in 2013, the average daily check load on NICS skyrocketed from an average of 58,000 per day to 145,000 on Black Friday, and this year, division manager Kimberly Del Greco tells the AP, "we have a perfect storm coming."

Americans for Responsible Solutions (AFRS), a group started by former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., spent $10.6 million in the midterm elections fighting to increase gun registration, the group's website says.

AFRS wants to extend this requirement to private sales between individuals and gun show sales, and says these loopholes "allow up to 40 percent of all gun transfers to take place without a background check."

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group Everytown for Gun Safety (EGS) spent $50 million on campaigning for more gun registration during the midterms, reports Forbes.

The group even put out a pamphlet called "Talking Turkey About Guns 2014" in an effort to guide Thanksgiving dinner discussions. It says that "92 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun sales."

However, the 500 people working at the Bridgeport, W. Va., NICS office already are overwhelmed by the sheer number of gun purchases they are required to check from the nation's more than 48,000 legitimate gun dealers.

Many people buy guns during Thanksgiving's Black Friday sales, and NICS has beefed up its staff by 100 to handle the anticipated overload. But NICS employees seem convinced it won't be nearly enough to stem the tide.

NICS can deny approval of a gun purchase for felony convictions, outstanding arrest warrants, drug or mental problems, illegal immigrant status, restraining orders, or several other reasons, but overall about 71 percent of applications are quickly approved, the AP notes.

If a red flag pops up on the NICS computers, indicating a problem, a more extensive investigation can take place before a gun purchase can be approved or denied.

However, on an average of 512 requests per day, background checks are not completed within three days, and the buyers legally can pick up their guns and walk out of the store, whether they are qualified buyers or not.

The main problem is a lack of quickly accessible data. State records often are missing crucial information on criminal or mental backgrounds, or records are infrequently updated.

"It takes a lot of effort for an examiner to go out and look at court reports, look at judges' documents, try to find a final disposition so we can get back to a gun dealer on whether they can sell that gun or not," Del Greco told the AP.

She acknowledged, "We don't always get back to them."

National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the AP, "Any database is only going to function as well as the information contained within."

Del Greco told the AP, "It's really critical that we have accurate information. Sometimes we just don't."

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While gun-control advocates keep up the pressure for extended background checks on firearms buyers, last year the federal background check system already in place allowed 186,000 purchased guns to be handed over to their buyers before background checks were completed.
Friday, guns, background, checks
577
2014-29-26
Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 08:29 PM
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