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Prohibited Persons Trying to Buy Guns: Prosecutions?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by alohachris, Jan 20, 2011.

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  1. alohachris

    alohachris Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    Honolulu, HI
    Here's a claim from the Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC) that astounded me:

    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?
  2. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

    May 10, 2005
    Kingsport Tennessee
    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.
  3. LiENUS

    LiENUS Member

    Nov 8, 2010
    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.
  4. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    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.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    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.
  6. vaherder

    vaherder Member

    Oct 3, 2010

    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
  7. gc70

    gc70 Member

    Dec 22, 2004
    North Carolina
    From Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2008 (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
    Declined to prosecute 42
    Prosecution dismissed 14
    Guilty plea or verdicts 43
  8. bikemutt
    • Contributing Member

    bikemutt Member

    Dec 24, 2010
    Vancouver, WA
    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.
  9. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    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:

    1. The odds on being caught are high to begin with and grow higher with repeated crimes.
    2. 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.
  10. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    No, but you do have to spend money.
  11. hirundo82

    hirundo82 Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    The Deep South
    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.
  12. DenaliPark

    DenaliPark member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Far north of global warming
    There it is...
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