Daily I am constantly being barraged with so many conflicting opinions and pseudo facts regarding gun control, gun rights and the pathetic political manipulation that goes along with this topic I feel its time to address a few of these things.
Yesterday I posted on facebook that I was going to begin a blog that covers topics from gun rights, to modern politics and many of my friends gave me suggestions.
One in particular struck a chord so I will start with his topic:
How easy it exactly to purchase a firearm? This particular friend I have been friends with for 22 years, we went to the same small military school in high school together. We have very different political views yet are always very respectful of each others opinions. He is an amazing friend, father and overall just a wonderful person. So sir, this blog entry is dedicated to you and our friendship. I am going to go over background checks in the simplest way I can explain it.
BACKGROUND CHECKS: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Most people assume that purchasing a firearm is easy and there is nothing extra that goes into the process: just walk into a gun store, give them money and walk out with a gun. This is very far from the truth. It is not an easy process so let me walk you through it. We will take this from the hypothetical that I am a firearm purchaser and we will go through two scenarios: One, that I do not have a CDWL (conceal deadly weapon license) and Two, that I do.
I walk into a gun store and shop for a firearm. I converse with the salesman and narrow down which type of firearm I want. Let’s say for kicks I want to purchase an AR-15 (a semi-automatic magazine fed rifle chambered in 5.56×45). I pick the rifle I want, confirm that I would like to purchase it so now what?
I am required to present a state issued ID, usually a drivers license, and the salesman gives me a form called a 4473. This is the form where my background check is ran through NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System).
Generally it can either be filled out on paper or nowadays electronically. (I sell firearms for a very large company and we opt to do them electronically.)
The questions are very detailed, all of my information must be current and accurate ranging from where I reside, to where I was born etc etc. If one piece of information is wrong and or incorrect I must either redo the form with proper and correct information or I will not be sold said firearm.
(depending on which info is incorrect there are also scenarios where the sale simply will not occur.)
The history of this form/background check goes back to the 1993 Brady Bill and was initiated full stream in November 1998. The FBI, DHS and ATF run this program, but primarily though it is the FBI.
For more info on this here’s a link:
So, I have successfully finished the form. Now what?
The form is reviewed by the FFL (in order for a business to sell firearms commercially one must possess an Federal Firearms License.)
If all information is consistent and accurate, I sign and date the form.
If all questions were answered properly from there the FFL “calls it in.” This can often be a time consuming process. The call in process can take as little as 5-20 minutes or up to 5 hours (seriously, I have been on hold for close to 5 hours when calling a background check on a customer.) Now that the FFL calls NICS, submits the information through a telephone call or electronic submission they will receive one of three answers based upon the form:
Proceed, Delay or Deny.
These are rather self explanatory, but I’ll explain them quickly.
Proceed means your background check ran cleanly and you are given the green light to purchase the firearm.
Delay means just that, there is something on your check that requires further investigation. Pending that investigation you may or may not be able to purchase that firearm but regardless that DAY you will not be allowed to purchase that firearm until the FFL gets confirmation from the ATF and FBI that you are proceeded.
Deny means no sale. There is something that comes up on your background check that is a red flag and you aren’t allowed to purchase the firearm. Generally from there local law enforcement is contacted over that individuals intent to purchase a firearm either from the NICS side or the FFL side.
Moving forward. I get a proceed. I first must sign and the date form confirming I’m buying a firearm from this ffl, along with also confirming all of my information is correct and credible. From here the FFL finishes the form, putting the NICS transaction number on the form, dating it correctly, writing down the type of firearm, the manufacturer, the caliber and the serial number on that firearm. Once everything is properly documented the sale continues:
I am rung up, I pay the FFL for the firearm and I leave with the firearm I chose.
Simple enough right?
Well not nearly as easy as the media portrays it to be. It is a tiresome process and one that can take as little as 25 minutes or up to several hours or days depending on which state you live in.
Scenario 2: I have a CDWL.
Most CDWL holders aren’t required to go through the NICS process. What?! But hey, that means there isn’t even a background check done? Far from it actually. CDWL holders have background checks run on them MONTHLY. That’s monthly. I reside in Kentucky and I am also a CDWL holder. In Kentucky alone we run close to 3 million background checks monthly.
So as concealed carriers we are closely kept up with and the smallest thing from a speeding ticket to a domestic charge can revoke our carry conceal permit.
Moving forward, in scenario 2 I do everything verbatim as I do in scenario 1 accept on the form my CDWL permit number and expiration date are scribed to the form and the call to the FBI/ATF/NICS isn’t made since it is done monthly.
SHOULD STRONGER CONTROLS BE PUT IN PLACE WHEN PURCHASING FIREARMS AT A GUN SHOW OR FROM SOMEONE ON THE INTERNET?
Here, tons of misinformation are being fed from the media to the populous to breed fear and ignorance regarding firearms sales in gun shows and the internet. Allow me to elaborate a little.
For those who don’t know, ANYONE SELLING FIREARMS AT A GUNSHOW ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE AN FFL AND RUN A NICS ON EVERY SALE. That’s right, all those tables of guns, each vendor is required to have an FFL and to run a NICS check on every sale.
There is no gunshow “loophole” and once again it is just misinformation being propagated by the media.
It is illegal to sell a firearm as a vendor at a gun show without running a NICS on every single sale. This is a felony.
What if I want to sell a gun at a gunshow? I check it in, meaning i confirm it is unloaded and inspected at the door by security.
Yes, security at gunshows are tight. Generally there is a large number of local police both in and out of the venue.
Anyhow, I take it to whichever vendor I wish, we reach a deal then they buy my firearm along with getting a copy of my identification. Since I am selling the firearm to an FFL no NICS is required.
A big thing about gun shows, which I loathe, is what I call the “parking lot sales.” This is where the “loophole” garbage comes into play. Many people will see someone in the parking lot, which is in no way associated with the gun show other than being a parking area, and converse with them over a firearm. One party notices that another party has a firearm they like. They discuss the firearm and both parties decide to do a person to person sale. Currently there is no law regarding person to person sales as the individuals aren’t commercially established vendors or FFL’s. This stuff happens a lot, but it is always associated with the gun show itself, which frustrates me because it has nothing to do with gun show itself but rather than two private citizens doing business between themselves.
Personally I am not a fan of gun shows nor the parking lot trades and sales. It gives firearms owners a bad wrap.
This one really gets me, lol. Okay, there are tons of internet firearms dealers. All of which are established FFL’s. The process of buying a firearm on the internet is tedious at best and far from easy. I cant just buy a gun online and have it shipped to my house. I have bought several firearms online so lets go through a basic internet sale.
I go to an online FFL, choose the firearm I wish to purchase and add it to my cart, or whatever the websites checkout area is called. From there I submit all of my information (address Drivers license info, method of payment etc etc) and then choose which FFL I want that firearm transferred to. I pay a 25$ transfer fee to the FFL it is being shipped to and I also pay for the firearm online. From here the firearm is transferred to the FFL I chose to have it shipped to. This can take up to 3-5 weeks depending on the online retailer. Once the firearm is transferred to my local FFL I am notified by the receiving FFL. I go in, fill out a NICS 4473, pay my transfer fee and pending the NICS I leave with my firearm.
Online trading? There are many sites like gunbroker and the like which are kind of like the ebay of guns where You can create a profile and post your firearm for sale. These are person to person sites and while many pro second amendment advocates may disagree with me I personally feel that these trading sites should be required to provide NICS on all person to person trades and sales.
So how do these sites work? I find firearm I want on gunbroker. I contact the seller and either meet them person to person to do the sale or the firearm is transferred to an FFL and I go through the first internet scenario.
One thing I totally agree with is the shutting down of trading and selling groups on social media. I used to admin several FB trading groups and I can tell you that was one of the easiest and fastest ways for criminals to get firearms. Get online, make a fake profile, join a group, flash some cash, arrange a meet and buy gun. Don’t get me wrong, I have bought and sold many firearms this way but every time I did I got pictures of ID’s and was very meticulous about who I bought and sold from. In short time as an admin on these group I personally shut down more than 50 straw purchases. I was not well liked because of this but I am firm believer in keeping firearms in the hands of good guys and out of the hands of bad guys.
So going full circle….it is not an easy process to purchase a firearm in the least. Don’t be fooled by the misinformation being fed by the media.