There’s a new sheriff at the top of the United States’ government’s executive branch, and he’s vastly more firearm friendly than his predecessor, but gun confiscations have seen a sharp uptick in one area.
USA Today reports that last year, the FBI issued over 4,000 requests — the largest number in a decade — for federal ATF agents to confiscate firearms from Americans flagged by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as unfit to possess them, ostensibly due to issues such as criminal records or mental health history.
The move comes as President Donald Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has ordered a review of the feds’ vetting system, in the wake of revelations that the perpetrator of a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas had been legally prohibited from purchasing weapons, yet the feds had failed to get the relevant information into NICS.
But the thousands of gun seizure requests highlight persistent problems in a system where analysts must complete background checks within three days of the proposed purchase. If the background check is not complete within the 72-hour time limit, federal law allows the sale to go forward. ATF agents are asked to take back the guns if the FBI later finds these sales should have been denied […]
It was not immediately clear how many gun seizure requests agents successfully executed last year or how many weapons were ultimately recovered. Since multiple firearms can be purchased in a single transaction, the actual number of guns that should have been banned could be even higher […]
The government’s success record when it comes to retrieving guns that were improperly purchased has also been mixed.
The ATF declined to provide information on the 4,170 gun purchases the FBI referred for seizure last year. They reflect a substantial increase from 2,892 requests the previous year.
The FBI said the ATF is not required to report back on the status of the retrieval efforts.
Yet in 2004, the Justice Department’s inspector general found that the ATF’s retrieval efforts were plagued by staffing shortages, technological inefficiencies and a general lack of urgency that resulted in recovery delays of up to a year.
“ATF agents did not consider most of the prohibited persons who had obtained guns to be dangerous and therefore did not consider it a priority to retrieve the firearm promptly,” report concluded.
It’s important to note that we’re not talking about infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, but rather individuals who have been deemed to be dangerous via due process of law. At the same time, however, law-abiding citizens being wrongfully denied the ability to purchase guns thanks to wrongful inclusion in the NICS system has happened.
What do you think about this news? Are you confident that the Trump Administration is carrying out these requests correctly, or do you fear there are still enough gun-grabbing Obama holdovers within the federal bureaucracy to cause problems for decent Americans? Some reform is obviously needed in the wake of the church shooting, but do we also need additional rules to prevent NICS from being abused? Share your thoughts in the comments below.