Any time you buy a gun from a federal firearms licensed dealer, (FFL), you will be subjected to a background check. Yes, even at gun shows in Indiana. It doesn’t matter where you buy. If there’s no background check, then the sale isn’t legal.
The one exception is that certain states do not require a background check for buyers with a valid concealed carry permit. That’s because a concealed carry permit will be revoked the moment a person commits a crime. So as long as you have one, you are allowed to buy a firearm.
But the question bears asking, do these background checks really prevent people with criminal backgrounds from getting guns? We keep hearing about shooters who should not have been able to buy a gun do just that and then do the unspeakable.
Recently, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, Erich Pratt, was quoted by USA Today saying, “ATF agents did not consider most of the prohibited persons who had obtained guns to be dangerous.”
So it turns out that whether or not people are approved when subjected to such a check depends very much on an actual person looking into their background and making a determination as to whether or not they will be permitted to have a gun.
They look at applicants who maybe have an unpaid traffic ticket on their record and a bench warrant in another state that they may not even know about and say, ‘This guy is not dangerous.’ In order for the FBI to follow through and investigate all of these cases would be totally impractical. They would have to change their name to The Federal Bureau of Pointless Harassment.
The fact is, anyone might be violent. The law does not allow law enforcement people to violate people’s rights because they might be violent, not yet anyway. What’s more, the big news stories about shootings like the one in Florida, are the exception- not the rule. When Nikolas Cruz obtained his gun, he fell through the cracks.
The real failure in the Florida case was the fact that law enforcement did nothing to stop him in spite of many warning signs. So Cruz committed a bunch of crimes in reality. But they were never registered with the ATF because FBI and the local PD did nothing about the crimes he did commit. There is no background check in the world that employs psychics, and that’s what it would have taken for a background check to stop Cruz.
And of course, the law can’t do much about guns on the black market. Criminals will steal guns no matter what. Even if guns were totally illegal from sea to shining sea- it would take a Trump-style wall surrounding the entire country with guards every twenty feet to keep them out. Federal prisons can’t even keep drugs from getting to inmates.
There are many reasons a person can be denied their gun purchase- but they are very difficult to pursue. Those subject to bench warrants in states they have left, for example, must be shown to have left in order to evade justice. A domestic violence charge is one area where people are blocked from buying guns most readily. But even in these cases, some of the definitional sticking points are hard to verify, and most states have statutes of limitations.
In just about every state, anyone who has a restraining order filed against them cannot buy a gun while the order is in place. The problem with restraining orders is they tend to come out of courts with a limited scope like a family court which does not necessarily share its records in a way that is easy for other agencies to find. Such a person could easily go across state lines in these cases and buy a gun.
People under indictment are not permitted to buy guns. But indictments, like orders from a family court, are provisional and not always broadly shared.
People with adjudicated mental health disorders are barred from firearms purchases in many cases. But many such cases are not thoroughly reported.
The list goes on and on. The failures we are seeing are human failures, and they are compounded by the fact that here in the United States- people are allowed to be dangerous. That’s a big part of what freedom means.
But the fact remains, that nothing is perfect. The US ranks 31st in the world for gun violence. And that’s pretty low, considering all the hype, and a clear indication that the problem is more political than real.
~ American Gun News