Thousands of people who should not have been able to purchase firearms due to mental health issues, criminal records, or other disqualifying matters were found to have legally purchased guns by Federal authorities. It is because of this that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has issued over 4000 requests to the FBI to try and retain the firearms from these restricted buyers.
This is an alarming revelation, especially with all of the controversy surrounding all of the recent gun shootings that unfortunately seem to get reported every other day. There are many arguments on the effectiveness of background checks as well as disagreements on which types of guns should be available for regular purchase by a civilian, however enforcing the laws that are currently on the books is the least that law enforcement should be doing yet this new study shows that this may not be the case.
The FBI analyzes millions of firearm transactions every year, but the fact that the ATF has issued so many requests shines a light on what can only be described as a major problem in the current system and procedures that are being used. Currently there is a 72 hour time limit on any and all background checks and if nothing is found in that time then federal law allows the purchase to be completed. If in the future the FBI finds information that should have stopped the sale they then have the authority to retrieve back those guns. However, it is unfortunately known that a lot can happen during that time period. Not only that, but seizing guns from an individual who should not legally own one can be a difficult and often dangerous task which is a position that they should have not found themselves in to begin with.
The rise in these situations of guns having to be retrieved does relate to the fact that we are now doing more background checks than ever, yet incomplete government databases and insufficient record keeping are only making this matter more difficult for all of the agencies and people involved. Dependence on the accuracy of these registries is crucial, which is why now more than ever it is important to make sure that the proper procedures are being followed.
Whether it is because of a shortage of staffing or the low priority that the ATF actually puts on the retrieval of these firearms, the success rates in getting back these guns from the people that should not have been able to purchase them are mixed at best. In addition, there seems to be no plans in extending the current 72 hour background check period which could help decrease the amount of requests issued to retrieve these guns. Instead, the focus is on complying with the laws that are already in place. There may be bills introduced into congress to help out, or even to improve, the current system, but as of now it is still up to the federal agencies to do their best with what tools they currently have.
The laws surrounding firearms can vary by state which is why finding a knowledgeable lawyer in your area can be crucial if you are facing any weapons charges. At Stephen Piper Law you can find an experienced attorney to support you in your fight. Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.
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