Theodore's World: Black Friday’s Big Gun Sales Trigger Two Background Check Requests Per Second and a More Easily Beaten System

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November 28, 2014

Black Friday’s Big Gun Sales Trigger Two Background Check Requests Per Second and a More Easily Beaten System

Black Friday’s Big Gun Sales Trigger Two Background Check Requests Per Second and a More Easily Beaten System

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — More gun sales than ever are slipping through the federal background check system — 186,000 last year, a rate of 512 gun sales a day, as states fail to consistently provide thorough, real-time updates on criminal and mental histories to the FBI.

This Friday opens the busiest season for gun purchases, when requests for background checks speed up to nearly two a second, testing the limits of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

NICS did about 58,000 checks on a typical day last year. That surged to 145,000 on Black Friday 2013. They’re bringing in 100 more workers than usual for the post-Thanksgiving rush this year.

Much of the responsibility for preventing criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns is shouldered by about 500 men and women who run the system from inside the FBI’s criminal justice center, a gray office building with concrete walls and mirrored windows just outside Bridgeport, West Virginia.

There are more than 48,000 gun retailers in the U.S., from Wal-Mart stores to local pawn shops. Store clerks can use the FBI’s online E-Check System, which federal officials say is more efficient. But nearly half the checks are phoned in. Three call centers — in Kentucky, Texas, and Wheeling, W.Va. — take these calls from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day but Christmas.

The call centers have no access to privileged information about buyers’ backgrounds, and make no decisions. They just type in their name, address, birthdate, Social Security Number and other information into the system. On Black Fridays, the work can be grueling: One woman took a call that lasted four hours when a dealer phoned in the maximum 99 checks.

“Rules had to be stretched,” recalled Sam Demarco, her supervisor. “We can’t transfer calls. Someone had to sit in her seat for her while she went to the bathroom.”

By federal law, NICS researchers must race against the clock: They have until the end of the third business day following an attempted firearm purchase to determine whether or not a buyer is eligible.

“They won’t proceed or deny a transaction unless they are ABSOLUTELY certain the information they have is correct and sufficient to sustain that decision,” FBI spokesman Stephen G. Fischer told the AP.

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Wild Thing's comment.......

The direction our country is going each day I am not surprised if more and more people want to own a gun to protect themselves.

Posted by Wild Thing at November 28, 2014 12:55 AM


One thing they can do to help alleviate the problem is not require background checks for those with a CCW permit. Those who possess a CCW permit already went through an extensive background check which is more thorough than the Federal Instant Check.

Posted by: BobF at November 28, 2014 10:52 AM

Usually I don't participate in crowd/mob/group activities, but Tuesday I bought a gun. A Belgium made Browning Hi Power. Ordered and to be sent to my FFL dealer so no background check until I go to my dealer for hands on delivery. I am glad to see so many firearms continue to be purchased. The govt. will have a really difficult time registering and confiscating all the hundreds of million guns in private hands.

Posted by: TomR,armed in Texas at November 28, 2014 12:19 PM