FBI’s Gun Background Check Program Has Some VERY Significant Problems

Listening to the President and supporters of increased gun controls, one would think that a significant amount of the illegal gun violence in the country can be stopped with increased “common sense background checks.”

  • BUT there are multiple problems with the current system and they are not insignificant.
  • USA Today just published an article titled “FBI official: ‘Perfect storm’ imperiling gun background checks.” In it they  explain that the system has been so burdened with recent increased requests that they are short-staffed and unable to keep up. Furthermore, they’ve stopped processing appeals for those denied the purchase of a gun.

On my #HausRules radio show today, gun expert Dr. John Lott and I discussed this development. Lott pointed out several additional problems with the background check program, all of which are extremely important:

  1. The majority of background check rejections are false positives – people that should be able to buy a gun but cannot
  2. Cancelling the appeals process has a racially and economically discriminative impact
  3. The result will be fewer gun purchases for those legally able to do so – and those who for various reasons have an immediate need to buy a gun

You can listen to the entire segment with Dr. Lott here (the bulk of which is devoted to this topic):


Via USA Today

The surge of criminal background checks required of new gun purchasers has been so unrelenting in recent months that the FBI had been forced to temporarily halt the processing of thousands of appeals from prospective buyers whose firearm purchase attempts have been denied.

Since October, the bureau’s entire cadre of appeal examiners— about 70 analysts — was redeployed here to help keep pace with waves of incoming background investigations that continued through December when a record 3.3 million firearm sales were processed.

The transfer of examiners, which had left a backlog of 7,100 appeals, is only part of a makeshift reorganization that FBI Assistant Director Stephen Morris said has become necessary to handle a burgeoning workload that expands in the wake of every mass shooting and call for increased gun control that invariably prompt firearms sales binges across the country.

“The last several months, we’ve kind of found ourselves in a perfect storm,’’ Morris said in an interview with USA TODAY. In each of the last six months, the number of background checks has risen steadily, according to FBI records, ending with December’s record with more than a half-million over the previous monthly high posted in the aftermath of the 2012 Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

Since before Thanksgiving weekend, all annual leave for the more than 400 employees of the bureau’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System has been canceled. That Black Friday, the system was swamped with 185,345 background check requests on new firearm sales, a new single-day record. Morris said temporary background check examiners also are being pulled from internal construction projects and bureau divisions that oversee the gathering of crime statistics across the nation.

The near-constant frenzy of activity within the FBI’s sprawling complex, four hours away from the nation’s capital, may represent the most compelling argument in favor of at least part of President Obama’s recent executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence: the addition of 230 examiners to the NICS operation and 200 more agents for nation’s chief gun enforcement agency, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms.


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