Estimated duration: 7-8 minutes
Gun violence has been a pressing concern in many people’s minds, and for good reason. As of July 5, Insider reported that there have been at least 314 mass shootings in the country this year, and the number continues to rise.
Regardless of political beliefs or party affiliation, most Americans agree that firearms should never fall into the hands of dangerous and unstable individuals. A May 2022 survey by Morning Consult and Politico found that 88% of the population supports background checks on all gun sales.
However, to do background checks effectively, it is important to understand the flaws in the current system and how to fix them.
Overconfidence in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
Gun control dates back to 1934, when the National Firearms Act (NFA) was passed to regulate the distribution and possession of certain firearms and accessories. Then, in 1968, the Gun Control Act (GCA) was enacted to keep firearms out of the hands of those who had no right to legally own them. (Ineligible factors include age, criminal record, and incompetence.) In general, the GCA regulates the sale, purchase, and possession of firearms.
The Brady Law of 1993 mandated federal background checks on firearm buyers and imposed a five-day waiting period on firearm transactions. As part of the law, the Attorney General (within five years of his enactment) was required to establish a nationwide rapid background check system. That means the FBI relied almost entirely on this system he started in 1998 to keep guns out of the wrong hands. This system is now known as the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and provides all necessary background checks for legal firearms. purchase.
This is the reason for the problem.
The federal government cannot require states to report information to NCIS.
In America, there are federal and state laws. Federal law violations are often handled in federal courts, and state law violations are handled in state (or county) courts. Due process for crimes committed against the state falls under the category of “powers not delegated to the United States” established by the Tenth Amendment.
Unfortunately for the federal government, the overwhelming majority of crimes are handled by the states.
In short, states generally have no obligation to report their businesses to the federal government for criminal record data. Therefore, the federal government cannot be obligated to ensure the accuracy of criminal background information.
According to the FBI, as of October 31, 2020, 43 states had met the requirements to collect crime data according to FBI specifications. That means only her 86% of the country has its base properly covered when it comes to screening gun buyers. This leaves plenty of room for the wrong person to use the firearm.
NICS database does not contain proper information
Questionable data integrity is a problem, but the lack of pertinent information is another glaring problem with the NICS database.
In a 2018 article on PBS, Martha Berisle said the FBI’s background check database theoretically needed “a definitive list of people who are prohibited from carrying guns.” I am writing that I am thinking. This includes prisoners, people in psychiatric hospitals, dishonorably discharged military personnel, and drug addicts.
But Bellisle adds, “The database is incomplete.”
This is because local law enforcement agencies, the military, federal and state courts, and even hospitals do not always send their records to NICS in a timely manner.
A specific instance where the system failed
It is often after a deadly carnage that the surface of the background check process is punctured.
According to a 2015 NPR article by Carrie Johnson, the FBI determined that the man who murdered nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church should not have passed a background check. Due to inaccurate information in the database and poor communication, the culprit waited three days for his FBI to contact him before he could purchase the gun. A few weeks later he took nine of his lives.
A similar incident occurred in the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting. According to his NPR article authored by Camila Domonosuke and Richard Gonzalez, Holloman Air Force Base’s Office of Special Investigations did not report the domestic violence incident to her NICS.
“Under federal law, his conviction disqualified him from legally owning a firearm. However, there were clear problems with collecting information about his conviction into the appropriate federal databases.” Domonosuke and Gonzales write. He shot 26 people with a gun the assailant should never have been allowed to buy.
The FBI cannot be held responsible for these tragic situations, but many lives could have been saved had some of these holes been repaired.
So now is the time to resolve.
Why the private sector is better suited for background checks
Private consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), especially background check firms, have been trusted by national and international organizations for decades to provide background checks on new hires, residents, volunteers, and more. rice field.
Many government agencies stick to the NICS process, but given the choice, many companies choose to partner with private background screening vendors. is faster, more accurate, more comprehensive, and more customizable.
The FBI can access database information, but so can private screening firms. In fact, private screeners can search for:
- federal fugitive file
- State and county records repositories
- Prison parole and release files
- sex offender record
- Foreigners Database (OFAC)
- National Security/Terrorist Watchlist Database
- FBI Most Wanted
- Interpol Most Wanted
- DEA fugitive list
- Federal court records from all jurisdictions.
Of course, it’s important to remember that most databases are inadequate for a standalone search, as states often don’t report all the information they need.
Private review firms are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and must verify records directly with the source (jurisdiction or court where the crime was committed and recorded).
Additionally, many popular screening packages for employment include county court records searches in addition to database searches. These searches will go a long way in manually pulling records from courts and filling holes in the national crime database net.
The private sector can also drug test large numbers of people, something the FBI cannot do.
In short, private screeners have more industry knowledge, resources, capabilities, and solutions when it comes to background checks than federal-level screeners. Federal shortcomings (in the context of background checks) have constitutional roots and are difficult to address.
Solutions that save more lives
Given all the evidence above, it’s clear that there are better ways to handle background checks than relying on the federal government. It can prevent death, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Utah company Peopletrail specializes in background checks for businesses and employers. For more information about the company’s commitment to federal and civilian background checks, visit peopletrail.com.