The largest number of Gun retrieval requests in 10 years, the FBI issued more than 4,000 requests for agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives to seize guns from prohibited buyers, due to invalid background checks.
The Texas mass shooting by gunman Devin Patrick Kelley revealed a shocking revelation that a flaw in the background check system allowed a very troubled man to purchase a firearm. Kelley used a rifle which he legally purchased to gun down 26 victims at a rural church in Texas.
The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) vets millions of gun purchase transactions every year.
The FBI was overloaded with more than 200,000 background check requests for gun purchases this BlackFriday, setting a new single-day record. A background check for gun purchases must be completed within 72 hours of the sale.If the background check is not complete within the 72-hour time limit, federal law states the sale is valid.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a United States system for determining if prospective firearms or explosives buyers’ name and birth year match those of a person who is not eligible to buy. It was mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady Law) of 1993 and launched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1998.
- Shipping or transporting any firearm or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce;
- Receiving any firearm or ammunition that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
A person prohibited from owning a gun is one who:
- Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
- Is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
- Is a fugitive from justice;
- Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
- Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution;
- Is illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
- Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
- Having been a citizen of the United States has renounced U.S. citizenship;
- Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner;
- Has been convicted in any court of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence”, a defined term in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33)
Currently, federal law requires background checks (through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System) only for guns sold through licensed firearm dealers, which account for 60% of all gun sales in the United States.
It is not immediately clear how many gun seizure requests were successfully executed out of the 4000, or how many weapons were actually removed from ownership. Multiple firearms can be purchased in a single transaction meaning that the number of guns may very well be much higher than the number of seizure requests.