Prohibited Persons Trying to Buy Guns: Prosecutions?


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alohachris
January 20, 2011, 10:19 PM
Here's a claim from the Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC) that astounded me:

There were ZERO prosecutions of the 3,767 attempts by prohibited person to buy guns in Utah in 1998!!!
That is ZERO prosecutions by Utah authorites for this easily proven state felony.
That is ZERO prosecutions by Federal authorities for this easily proven Federal felony.
Nationally there have only been SEVEN prosecutions in the last five years!


The USSC does not list a source for this claim, but I would love to know if this is accurate. Could some one help me dig up some statistics? Where would I find the number of prosecutions for prohibited persons attempting to buy firearms?

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Carl N. Brown
January 20, 2011, 11:15 PM
Theories: if enforced it might deter prohibited persons (or straw buyers for that matter) from trying, and lessen the demand for more gun control.
OR, there are so many problems with the background check data that there are too many "false positives" to be worth the effort to prosecute a high percent of losing cases.

(I have heard of one guy here in Tennessee who always kicks out on the BG check (arrest as fugitive felon) and has to file appeals (court record shows the arrest was mistaken identity). If you ever get arrested, keep copies of the court disposition of the case especially if charges are dropped! Apparently you have to get convicted to get an expungement of an arrest.

LiENUS
January 20, 2011, 11:25 PM
If you ever get arrested, keep copies of the court disposition of the case especially if charges are dropped! Apparently you have to get convicted to get an expungement of an arrest.

Not entirely true. I was arrested similar story to that guy, they dropped it then we filed to expungement and I was immediately granted it. Now the catch is they can only ever expunge the state arrest record not the federal record. I've worked a few jobs with detailed background checks where my arrest has shown up and I've had to dig out the court disposition. But it has never done anything for firearm purchases. I've purchased 6 firearms since then never even a delayed always a go. Of course this is Louisiana, since expungement is a state thing not federal it could easily be a completely different story in Tennessee.

Zoogster
January 21, 2011, 09:30 AM
I recall several things struck down over the decades as unconstitutional when they required an individual to incriminate themselves.


If they were to prosecute for this often they would increase the chances of it being successfully challenged.
It could easily be found to violate the right of protection from self-incrimination, as similar requirements have been in the past.
Many who fail the background check are also not prohibited, just read all the stories of people that have trouble with NICS.

I imagine a large percentage of those that do fail are not really prohibited or recently became prohibited, or are only potentially temporarily prohibited (like those under indictment before they win their case.)
There is also those subject to restraining orders, state level prohibitions over misdemeanor offenses, and people that have firearm rights restored in states that allow that in a way that satisfies the feds.
The records of big bureaucracies change slowly. Someone no longer prohibited may still be prohibited in a computer for years. Weeding out real prohibited denials and fake denials would require thorough investigations.


Federal prosecutions are expensive, and they try to go after those who have assets to seize or tack on minor charges on individuals which are already being charged with something else.
Expensive prosecutions that result in minimal or no sentence at the expense of other prosecutions is something they weigh.
They have a budget for prosecutions, if they had an unlimited budget they would go after all the minor things, like FFLs that forgot to dot i's and cross t's or abbreviated X number of times over Y years aka "dozens of violations of federal firearm law over a number of years".
Fortunately they must prioritize because of budget constraints.

Art Eatman
January 21, 2011, 12:26 PM
It has been several years, but the track record of prosecutions for disallowed would-be buyers is somewhere between not many and very few, nationwide. Horseback guesstimate, maybe 20 prosecutions out of tens of thousands of turn-downs since the beginning of the NICS.

It could be that the turn-down is considered adequate for the purpose, and the costs of prosecution are saved. It could be that where prosecutions have occurred, the person might have had outstanding federal warrant, maybe.

vaherder
January 21, 2011, 12:43 PM
If you have had your state arrest/conviction expunged you also have to contact the FBI and have the arrest removed from your I 4. I guessing you need to provide what ever documentation they want. I would first request a copy of your I4 under the Privacy Act and go from there.

Va Herder

gc70
January 21, 2011, 12:46 PM
From Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2008 (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/231052.pdf) (published June 2010):

Applications and denials (Table 1):
NICS applications 5,813,249
NICS denials 70,725

Referrals for prosecution and results (Table F):
Refer for prosecution 147
Results:
Declined to prosecute 42
Prosecution dismissed 14
Guilty plea or verdicts 43

bikemutt
January 21, 2011, 12:58 PM
I was speaking with an FFL at the local gun show recently who mentioned that he was once DENIED on a NICS check for a personal gun. He said he was able to use his "connections" as an FFL to expedite turning it into a PROCEED. But it goes to show just about anyone can be turned down even though they aren't prohibited in the least.

I imagine someone named Charles Manson might be denied even though we know the bad one is in prison.

I think some of it is up to the FFL as well, I've heard of stories where an FFL was suspicious of the buy and once the deny popped, called LE before saying anything. Probably not a good way to cultivate customer loyalty but it might save a life if the suspicion is well-founded.

Standing Wolf
January 21, 2011, 01:29 PM
Theories: if enforced it might deter prohibited persons (or straw buyers for that matter) from trying, and lessen the demand for more gun control.
OR, there are so many problems with the background check data that there are too many "false positives" to be worth the effort to prosecute a high percent of losing cases.

I doubt law enforcement ever persuades very many criminals from trying to commit crimes. It should, obviously, but I think most criminals aren't bright enough to realize two obvious facts:


The odds on being caught are high to begin with and grow higher with repeated crimes.
As an occupation, crime pays very poorly and costs dearly.

False positives would, indeed, hinder prosecution of prohibited persons trying to buy firearms; that said™, it shouldn't take much effort to separate the people who didn't realize they were prohibited from those who know and have additional crimes in mind.

Ultimately, the failure to prosecute straw buyers and prohibited persons in non-negligible numbers indicates government has only superficial interest in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. So-called "gun control" to make it more difficult and expensive for law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms is the real goal.

Our hard-earned tax dollars in the service of leftist extremism.

brickeyee
January 21, 2011, 01:51 PM
Apparently you have to get convicted to get an expungement of an arrest.

No, but you do have to spend money.

hirundo82
January 21, 2011, 03:44 PM
To be fair, ATF has better things to do than arresting felons trying to buy guns, such as harrassing FFL holders for minor paperwork violations and telling the media that US guns are responsible for the violence in Mexico.

DenaliPark
January 22, 2011, 06:37 PM
To be fair, ATF has better things to do than arresting felons trying to buy guns, such as harrassing FFL holders for minor paperwork violations and telling the media that US guns are responsible for the violence in Mexico.
There it is...

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