A gun background check can be regarded as the major strategy put in place to counter and prevent gun violence in the United States. Licensed gun dealers are compelled by federal law to perform background checks on individuals looking to purchase a gun. This is to make sure that they do not sell guns to people who are legally prohibited from having a gun.
A study discovered that only 78 % of firearms found in the United States are accounted for and were obtained from licensed firearms dealers. This indicates that millions of American adults have access to firearms without going through a background check. Current federal laws advise people not to engage in the process of selling or buying unlicensed firearms.
The Lancet made an attempt to measure the impact that gun laws had in 25 different states when it comes to gun related mortality. It was discovered that background checks had most impact.
Background Check for Guns
Individuals who are looking to purchase a gun from a seller (FFL), need to complete the 4473 Form (Firearms Transaction Record). An FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) is someone who is licensed to sell guns. The FFL will then contact the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by phone or electronically who will run your information. The NICS is maintained by the FBI.
The background check will last for about 30 seconds. If the record is clean, you will then be allowed to go ahead with your purchase.
The NICS was established in 1988 and since then, it has made more than 300 million checks and 1.5 million denials. You can reach the NICS 17 hours a day by phone, 7 days a week (holidays included) except for Christmas. Calls may possibly be recorded or monitored for any authorized reason. You can access the NICS E-Check 24/7.
The Brady Law states that with records that need further investigation, the FBI will attend to them within 3 working days and give feedback. If they fail to approve or deny the request within those days, the applicant is allowed to go ahead with the purchase of the gun.
Factors that May Stop You From Purchasing a Gun
According to the FBI, someone who is not permitted to purchase a firearm is someone:
- Who is convicted of a crime with a sentence that exceeds a year and someone with a misdemeanor that has a sentence of more than two years.
- Who is a fugitive (someone who has a warrant of arrest or felony).
- Who is an addict.
- Who is diagnosed as being mentally disturbed.
- Who lives in the United States illegally.
- Who was dishonorably discharged from the military.
- Who has a restraining order issued against them (found guilty of stalking, harassing, and threating their former partner or minor of a partner).
- Who had been found guilty of domestic violence (threatened a partner or spouse, family member, guardian of victim with a deadly weapon).
- Who has relinquished their United States citizenship.
It worth mentioning that even though there are federal gun laws that apply to the entire United States when it comes to guns, each state has its own laws that govern the conduct of background checks. You are advised to research the laws that govern the issuing of firearms and also what goes into a background check in that particular state.
A gun background check is a necessity as it prevents guns from getting into the wrong hands. Even though the United States background check system has struggled to keep with firearm sales, the background checks do play a part in reducing gun related crimes.