for VA residents: background check taking too long


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sernv99
November 17, 2008, 12:50 PM
bought a Sig 556 this past Friday, from a FFL dealer. He phoned in my info to the VA State Police and they said it would be a delay. This was about 530pm. Today I called my dealer and he said they still havent called him back with the status check of my background check.

I don't know if this is true, but is there some clause that says if they don't complete the check within 3 days, I am allowed to receive the gun with or without approval? I don't think the weekend has anything to do with it since I have bought guns from a dealer on a Friday night and Saturday and was approved the same day. I'm thinking the post election madness is causing the delay....

I do noticed that from the time I bought my first gun (April 2008) up until 3 and a half weeks ago when I last bought a gun (over/under), the wait time for my background check has gone from 20 minutes to almost 2 hours now. In between I have bought a few over/unders, a few military style high capacity rifles, a tactical shotgun, and 2 handguns. Each of those transactions has increased my wait time.

my dealer says if you have any background investigations done by the feds (e.g. applying for a job that requires an extensive background check), this would cause the delay. However when I bought my first gun this year, I only experienced a 20 minute wait and I have worked at the same job for 2 years now.

any VA residents know how long I have to legally wait to get approved?

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JohnBT
November 17, 2008, 01:06 PM
As you've noticed, they've been very busy.

Here's the info off the VA State Police site. Just read the last sentence. John

2. The State Police shall provide its response to the requesting dealer during the dealer's request, or by return call without delay. If the criminal history record information check indicates the prospective purchaser or transferee has a disqualifying criminal record or has been acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, the State Police shall have until the end of the dealer's next business day to advise the dealer if its records indicate the buyer or transferee is prohibited from possessing or transporting a firearm by state or federal law. If not so advised by the end of the dealer's next business day, a dealer who has fulfilled the requirements of subdivision 1 of this subsection may immediately complete the sale or transfer and shall not be deemed in violation of this section with respect to such sale or transfer. In case of electronic failure or other circumstances beyond the control of the State Police, the dealer shall be advised immediately of the reason for such delay and be given an estimate of the length of such delay. After such notification, the State Police shall, as soon as possible but in no event later than the end of the dealer's next business day, inform the requesting dealer if its records indicate the buyer or transferee is prohibited from possessing or transporting a firearm by state or federal law. A dealer who fulfills the requirements of subdivision 1 of this subsection and is told by the State Police that a response will not be available by the end of the dealer's next business day may immediately complete the sale or transfer and shall not be deemed in violation of this section with respect to such sale or transfer.

JohnBT
November 17, 2008, 01:09 PM
Note that it says "may complete the sale", not must complete the sale. JT

Beatnik
November 17, 2008, 01:23 PM
Note that it says the dealer "MAY complete the sale." Not that the dealer must complete the sale.

There's the rub. As you fellow Virginians probably know, we've had a problem with incorrect paperwork getting Virginia gun dealers into trouble they didn't deserve.

Things being the way they are, as crazy as they are, I wouldn't count on the dealer taking the state up on its offer to allow him to exercise his and your constitutional rights. There's a feeding frenzy right now, which means that something may genuinely be wrong and they can't do anything about it.

Or it could be that we're headed down a road where that dealer may be in for the fight of his life to hang on to his livelihood... I really would not hold it against the dealer if he politely told you to take a hike over this. It's out of the ordinary, and records of out of the ordinary happening at gun stores right now is the type of thing that may land people in jail in a couple years.

The Bushmaster
November 17, 2008, 01:43 PM
Why is your gun dealer calling your police about buying a gun. Shouldn't he be calling NICS instead? Or are your gun laws different then other states?

SaltH2OHokie
November 17, 2008, 01:46 PM
From the FBI's site:
If it is determined that prohibitive criteria exists, the FBI NICS Examiner will advise the FFL to DENY the firearm transaction. If potentially prohibitive criteria exists and more information is required in order to make the determination, the NICS Examiner will advise the FFL to DELAY the firearm transaction and the call is concluded. The FFL must record the NTN on the ATF Form 4473 and retain the form for auditing purposes.

When a transaction is DELAYED, the FBI NICS Examiner begins extensive research on the potential prohibitor. When the research is complete, the FBI NICS Examiner calls the FFL and gives a PROCEED or DENY decision on the firearm transaction.

On the third business day of a DELAYED transaction, the NICS Examiner is required to call the FFL and advise him/her of their rights under the Brady Act to transfer the firearm after the third business day. If the delayed transaction cannot be resolved within the allowed three business days, it is at the discretion of the FFL whether to allow the firearm transfer. However, the NICS Section continues to research the case in an effort to obtain complete disposition information. Business days do not include the day the check was initiated Saturdays, Sundays, and any day state offices in the state of purchase are closed.


Bushmaster, in Virginia the State Police serve as point of contact of NICS checks.

The Bushmaster
November 17, 2008, 02:28 PM
In Missouri the gun dealer calls NICS directly...Average time is about 2 to 15 minutes and out the door...Gun and all.

zminer
November 17, 2008, 02:38 PM
If the delayed transaction cannot be resolved within the allowed three business days, it is at the discretion of the FFL whether to allow the firearm transfer. However, the NICS Section continues to research the case in an effort to obtain complete disposition information.

What I'd like to know what happens if the following scenario takes place:

1) Buyer pulls out money to buy gun at gun store
2) Dealer calls NICS
3) NICS says, "we can't fulfill the 'Instant' part of our name ... hang on for three days."
4) Dealer and buyer wait three days ... no call from NICS
5) Dealer decides to sell the gun, in accordance with discretion granted under the law
6) NICS calls back a week later and says, "yeah, that guy shouldn't have a gun."
7) Dealer says, "too late - I already sold it."

Does NICS call the local police to go visit the purchaser's house and take back the gun? Or does that responsibility fall on the dealer who sold it (to call, not to repossess)?

And is the gun technically "illegally" possessed, if the law was followed in every case? And what happens if the person didn't know that they were on the NICS "do not buy" list, so they weren't intending to purchase a firearm illegally? Can you own an "illegal" gun without having done anything wrong?

I've been lucky here in NY - the NICS checks have taken less than five minutes for each of my purchases, including the time the dealer spent dialing the phone and giving my information.

SaltH2OHokie
November 17, 2008, 03:11 PM
I reckon if NICS comes back and says you can't have a gun, you either need to get whatever mistake is on your record fixed or you really shouldn't have a gun and bought it illegally, ie the law couldn't have been followed in every step of your scenario because you broke the law somewhere on your form you filled out...no real room for gray area in there is there? (Truly curious, not making a sarcastic point...I know sometimes typed words don't convey seriousness vs sarcasm.)

zminer
November 17, 2008, 03:22 PM
whatever mistake is on your record...no real room for gray area in there is there?

Exactly as you said - it could just be a mistake. Perhaps an old charge that was dismissed by a judge, but never recorded as such. So, a case where you have answered the questions truthfully, but your record doesn't reflect it. In this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=406643&page=2) rbernie said that there are 10,000 successful appeals to NICS denials per year, so it seems like there's a lot of room for people who should legally be able to have guns to get denied by the system.

EDIT: So, what I am asking is this - it seems like it would be against the law to possess a firearm when the NICS check says you are a person whose record indicates you shouldn't own guns. But, if (in the case I described above) you are a perfectly legal person who is a victim of a mistake in the system, is your ownership technically illegal? My guess is "no," but that doesn't mean the local police won't hold onto your newly purchased gun until the matter is straightened out.

Realbigo
November 17, 2008, 03:33 PM
IMHO the OP was lucky. I've never had a check take less than 2 hours. I usually take the day off when I know i'm buying a Firearm. Usually I go up about noon, and do the paperwork, then I go for lunch, and more often than not, I go to a movie. If it's still not back by then, I tell the shop I'll be back in the morning. It's a real pain to have been born overseas to 2 American parents.

And one other thing. In VA if you attempt to buy a Firearm when you know that you are not permitted, either by prior acts, or an RO, you get a visit from the State Police.

SaltH2OHokie
November 17, 2008, 04:28 PM
Past two guns I've bought new took 4 minutes and 10 minutes respectively to come back "Proceed". The last one was last week (ie post election, so that would explain my 6 extra minutes I guess).

I use my Drivers License and Concealed Carry Permit and never give a social.

sernv99
November 17, 2008, 05:01 PM
dealer just called me, I got my approval:D

I have a over/under coming in this week from another dealer so I would imagine it is going to take a couple days now to do this background check stuff.....anyone else in VA experiencing this much delay?

JohnBT
November 17, 2008, 05:16 PM
A week ago or so the Richmond area's largest gun dealer (and probably the state's) had guns lined up waiting on the okay from the State Police. The gun show Sunday was about as bad from the little I saw.

And yes, Virginia uses the VA State Police system, not NICS. We've had it about 20 years. www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms_VFTP.shtm

sernv99
November 17, 2008, 06:00 PM
"I use my Drivers License and Concealed Carry Permit and never give a social."

I'm forced to give my social security number on one of the gun forms. One form says its optional but the other form requires it. How do you bypass not giving out your SSN?

rhoggman
November 17, 2008, 06:34 PM
Someone mentioned something about delays and goverment background checks for employment.....

If your background investigation was for the intent of receiving a US DoD Security Clearance (SECRET or above), and the result was successful (meaning you hold a clearance), then it is likely all your firearms purchases will be delayed.

All my purchases are delayed, and this scenario was told to me by a shop owner. Since hearing of this I have asked around, and it seems to be common knowledge. If you have a clearance, you will be delayed.

Sounds like a good reason to get a CCW permit in the State of Virginia!

SaltH2OHokie
November 17, 2008, 06:54 PM
If you read the instructions or whatever, it's social or "other identifying number" or something like that...I just use my DMV control number on my license. Last week I didn't even fill it in, the dealer just took my license and filled it in for me.

And to answer the question, no, I'm in VA and bought a gun last week in Christiansburg and waited 10 minutes on the background check. I waited a good long while for the scope to get boresighted/mounted/etc, but the background check was quick.

The CCW Permit doesn't negate the background check does it? I still have it done, I just use the CCW Permit as the 2nd form of ID...

jayofthejungle1985
November 17, 2008, 07:26 PM
My wife purchased a gun saturday morning and is still waiting for approval.
Dealer said its been taking longer lately and the big show in richmond slowed things down all weekend

zminer
November 17, 2008, 07:45 PM
How do you bypass not giving out your SSN?

I just filled out the 4473 for my MkIII a few weeks ago and, if I recall correctly, the form says something like "Social Security Number (optional, but helps avoid mistaken identity)" or something to that effect. So, in states where you go directly through NICS, it's possible to just leave it out, but by doing so you're leaving it open for them to say that that is the reason it's taking so long. I guess your personal info is safer, then, but if they already have your address, driver's license number, height, weight, etc. then getting paranoid about SSN might not be as important. I dunno, though ... maybe that's naive. I avoid giving it out in most scenarios, but I figure that if they're checking my criminal record and mental health history, they probably have that information already.

DZL HOG
November 17, 2008, 08:48 PM
Due to the amount of ppl buying guns since the election I can understand a wait of an hour or 2. But days?? I dunno whats up there?
I bought a pistol in June and it took around 30 minutes to get approved. I bought another in August and it took about an hour or so to get approved. But two gun stores were having sales and the Richmond gun show was the same day.
Three months since last purchase, I think its time for a new one. Oh wait I did buy a used gun FTF in October.

Hope you get approved and are able to receive your gun.

turnyourback
November 18, 2008, 01:50 AM
it took them about 5-10 minutes to tell me my background check had been delayed. nooo idea why.. but they said after three days (friday) if we don't hear back from them i can go get my gun. so there's that. good luck!

jayofthejungle1985
November 19, 2008, 05:02 PM
DAMN! its now wednesday evening and still delayed. from saturday morning.

tinygnat219
November 20, 2008, 09:19 AM
Methinks it's the sheer volume of buying going on right now.

It'd be good if someone asked the state police to actually have enough officers on hands to do the background checks on the weekends of the shows. I mean, we PAY for the friggin' "Instant Check"

freakindawgen
November 22, 2008, 03:46 PM
Seems to be going around,I bought a handgun last Monday and took no time at all.Wednesday has a delay going on a new purchase.But have noticed some go through fast around mine.I'm in Missouri

jayofthejungle1985
November 25, 2008, 07:18 PM
whoo... got approved today, took a whole ten days

Realbigo
January 29, 2009, 04:26 PM
Bought a PA-63 for $150 at a pawn shop yesterday. The check took 5 hours. It's a fact of life. Just deal with it.

Floppy_D
January 29, 2009, 04:34 PM
Had several checks run in the last few weeks, all of which were less than 10 minutes. I believe they were done online and not called in. Perhaps you could find an FFL who uses the online system?

cowhide1
January 29, 2009, 04:47 PM
I have a very common name, and can only assume that is why all my checks take over 5 hours to process..

winston smith
January 29, 2009, 04:59 PM
I feel for you...but, I live in NY. I bought a rifle from a dealer across the state line; 14 day waiting period :cuss: because NYS needs time to check me out. :banghead: Don't even ask me about the dept. of taxation and finance!:cuss:

rhoggman
January 29, 2009, 05:13 PM
All mine get delayed in VA... usually a few hours. I try to buy before lunch, come back and get the gun after lunch.

BackGround Investigations are a bleep

Va Vince
January 29, 2009, 06:18 PM
Never had a problem. Usually about 5-10 minutes. I am in the market for a .40 or .45 so Hopefully everything stays the way its been. Wonder why some it takes hours/days and others just minutes.

Regen
January 30, 2009, 09:46 AM
If you have a clearance, you will be delayed.
Not always true, but in general, if you have been fingerprinted by the federal government, you will be delayed. When the run a background check, the fact that you were fingerprinted pops up. If they are not too busy and they see that the reason for fingerprinting is a security clearance, they will not delay.

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