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When you go through a background check, what does the government know about it?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Phaethon, Apr 17, 2013.

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  1. Phaethon

    Phaethon Member

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    Hi guys,

    I was trying to figure this out on my own, but googling it is impossible with all these news articles getting in the way.

    Anyway, hopefully someone with an FFL can weigh in here; when you run a background check and file the 4473 for a customer or tranferee, what does the government/NCIS know about the purchaser, the nature of the check, time of purchase? Do they store this information? How much do they know?

    I'm kind of confused, as it seems to me like the federal government would already have a pretty good idea of who has guns, just by saving information on each check called in for a given person from FFL dealers. And if not, it seems like it'd be easy for them to start. Could someone walk me through how background checks actually work?

    Thanks!

    Edit ~ Also, are checks always run at the federal, or state level?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  2. abajaj11

    abajaj11 Member

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    Right now, the government is prohibited from maintaining a central database of 4473 applications. They can only go to a dealer (FFL) and ask for a particular form if there is probable cause. Also, 4473 forms are deliberately kept as paper copies, so it is impossible for the FEDs to steal this information if it were in digital form, and maintain a database in secret.

    It has long been the holy grail for anti 2A folks to maintain a central database (registry) of who owns what, since that will allow for swift and relatively peaceful disarmament of the population. Right now they cannot do it.

    Now, imagine if there was a requirement that ALL transactions pass a background check. To MONITOR if that requirement is being followed, the government HAS to be able to TELL that a sale ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE. The only way to know that a sale actually took place is to know WHO owned WHAT before and after any transaction.
    Knowing WHO owns WHAT is REGISTRATION. Thus, the UBC requirement is an excuse to legitimize the creation of a central registry.

    Registration is a very very bad idea. It has always led to confiscation, after a long period of harassment of gun owners. 2A is about preventing a central tyrant from creating a standing army stronger than the populace. The last thing the populace wants is a central database that can be used by any potential tyrant to disarm the populace.

    The entire push for Universal Background checks over the last few weeks has been as a pathway to allow the Executive Branch (DOJ and POTUS) to get executive orders in motion to allow creation of this registry.
    Check this memo out (especially the section on UBCs requiring a registry):
    http://static.infowars.com/2013/02/i/general/nij-gun-policy-memo.pdf

    If the Feds were actually serious about background checks and NICs' effectiveness, they would have pursued people after they were denied NICs checks, since it is a FELONY to lie on the 4473 form. Why are the people who lie on the 4473 form almost never prosecuted?
    Check this article out:
    http://www.newsmax.com/JohnLott/bradylaw-gunownership/2011/06/14/id/399967
    Hope this makes some sense for you.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  3. JVaughn

    JVaughn Member

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    Very concise and accurate description. Registration over time = confiscation. Really, the universal background checks was more dangerous than the "assault" weapons ban and the magazine limits. Those are just hardware, the registrations are the death of freedom.
     
  4. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    I don't think that is completely accurate. NICS is required to destroy their 4473's, but I don't know if any law that prohibits other agencies from gathering and keeping such info or lists. If you know of one, please link to it, I'd like to read it.
    Also the ATF is well known for acquiring and keeping bound books/4473's when a store closes, changes owners and coping documents during routine inspections. There is no law (TIKO) that prevents them from collecting or keeping "lists" from this info.
    No, they don't.
    No. They can find this out the same way they do with other crimes. Investigation, surveillance, evidence of a crime, confessions, informers, etc. No law requires 100% proof of compliance or prior knowledge. Our legal system does not require proof of innocence, but evidence of guilt. Although I still oppose them, UBC could be done without registration. It does not automatically follow (the just defeated UBC bill claimed to do that).
    Also not true. NFA weapons have been registered since 1934. Never led to confiscation. Many American states have had registration for decades. Switzerland has had 100% registration for several hundred years, they still have full auto guns in most homes.
    Executive Orders? Hasn't that dead horse been beaten enough? Why does every thread around here turn into a rant about confiscation? :rolleyes:
     
  5. Phaethon

    Phaethon Member

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    I appreciate the insight guys, but I'm not interested in how this relates to current events. I just want to understand how background checks have worked since the Brady Bill, particularly since a friend of mine claimed that the Federal Government maintains a list of all background checks that have gone through, when they were placed, who they were on, and who they came from. I thought this seemed unlikely, since that would mean that there already exists something akin to a national registry; it's just that the government doesn't know precisely what guns are involved; they'd only know there are guns.

    Basically what you're all saying is that when a background check is put through to the NCIS, they're required by law to destroy all information of it once the background check is complete? I know my FFL dealer keeps the papers, but does this mean that the Federal Government doesn't know that I purchased a firearm just last week?
     
  6. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    Your friend cannot know know that, nor can we say they do or do not have such info/lists. We just don't know one way or the other. We know NICS is supposed to destroy the 4473's, but only NICS is required to destroy, other agencies may intercept the info and keep it. There is no law to prevent them.
    We know the ATF copies FFL bound books and 4473's during routine inspections and investigations. The law requires them to collect the dealers files when they close. What happens to that info? We don't know.
    We know the the government loves to collect data, and there is no law that prevents them from making a file on you with this info.
     
  7. abajaj11

    abajaj11 Member

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    Sorry, I beg to differ. I don't see any way that the Feds can effectively monitor UBCs without registration. 70 million plus guns have been sold since current POTUS took office (on 4473 forms). Some more have been sold with legal FTF transactions in free states that don't require a NICs check for FTF transactions between citizens of that state.
    Of these 70 million + transactions, IMHO, agents can only sting a very tiny percentage....probably 2-3,000. That's not sufficient, from the government's perspective, to be able to monitor a UBC requirement.
    DOJ has already sent a private memo to POTUS saying they would need a registry to enforce any kind of UBC requirement.
    Check this memo out (especially the section on UBCs requiring a registry):
    http://static.infowars.com/2013/02/i/general/nij-gun-policy-memo.pdf

    As per Brady Bill, records can be kept for 180 days by Feds. This was reduced to 90 days by Clinton. then, this was reduced to 24 hours by Atty. Gen. Ashcroft.
    But, as per Brady Bill, which is the Law, the max is 180 days.
    check this out:
    https://epic.org/privacy/firearms/

    Since record of a NICs check MUSt be destroyed by the Fed executive branch, I don't see how they can give it to someone else outside the executive branch, and then say they destroyed it. That would be highly illegal!

    So basically, the only record of a sale right now is with the FFL through whom the 4473 form was called in. They have to maintain paper copies of these forms for 20 years. If they shut down, the BATFE takes over these records and then maintains them indefinitely.
    Check out:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_4473

    Just my 2 cents.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  8. suemarkp

    suemarkp Member

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    I think the last post is closest to answering the OP's question. The background check is a separate and distinct transaction from a 4473. The 4473 has been around for a long time. Now, there is just some additional information to record the NICS transaction number, the result of the check, and the date when it is OK to transfer the firearm (for results of DELAY) that goes on the 4473.

    NICS DOES NOT get the gun serial number or make/model, just gun type (handgun, rifle, shotgun), and buyer's info. I'm sure they can log the date/time when the record was initiated (and they need to because they only have 3 days to resolve DELAYs -- no point in continuing the check if you can't DENY by the 3rd day). These records are destroyed after some period of time. Even if they aren't, all you know is that so and so most likely bought some kind of firearm on a given day. I do not know if NICS knows who (which FFL) initiated the request.

    The 4473's are more problematic. They can be examined by the BATF when investigating a crime. I would think they may look at a lot of them when doing a FFL inventory inspection. Don't know how fast and how much they can scan, but I'm sure they do it. When the FFL goes out of business, he turns over the 4473s, and they are probably scanned. Only if the FFL manages to stay in business for 20 years past the gun transaction date can the 4473 be destroyed.

    The registry we fear is the 4473's. It would still be difficult to trace a gun if a person had to go to a FFL to do a private sale. That FFL would have to 4473 it in and out of his records, but no one would know what FFL performed this transaction unless they just went to every one in town and asked if they records of that firearm serial number.
     
  9. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    For reference, I give you the ATF Form 4473.

    When I call FBI NICS, I report the information in blocks 1, 3-8, 9 (if applicable), 10, 13, 14, and 18.

    If the transferee is getting more than one handgun, I report that on an ATF Form 3310.4 - Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers. The complete form is sent to the ATF and my local CLEO, plus one is attached to the 4473 and retained in my files.
     
  10. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    ATF gets the entire form mailed to them. Including serial numbers, make/model, DL, SS, address, etc.


    There is no law that makes it illegal for the government to collect and keep this info. Tihart Amendment only prohibits funds for these purposes. The government has never had a problem getting around that.

     
  11. abajaj11

    abajaj11 Member

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    Yes there IS a law that prohibits NICs from keeping this info: the Brady Bill (max 180 days) . And subsequent actions by Pres Clinton (max 90 days) as well as Att gen Ashcroft (max 24 hours).
    Please consider reading the links in my post above, and most importantly this link:
    https://epic.org/privacy/firearms/
    Also, as has been pointed out elsewhere in many posts, NICs check is different from Form 4473. Form 4473 is not mailed to anybody. It is kept by the FFL. NICs check info must be destroyed within 24 hours, as of present.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  12. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    If you ask any I.T. Person or computer wiz they will tell you that nothing is truly deleted from a computer.

    Also If I was with the Government I would be interested in the gun OWNERS. That way it would be easier to simply take all of their guns.
     
  13. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Member

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    You can rewrite over the same sectors with garbage bits and erase all data.

    Thats how GOOD disc wiping software works, but its wipes everything, your whole OS, all data, etc.
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    What a lot of nonsense over nothing. I don't know when I have seen a thread with more misinformation and downright paranoia than this one.

    1. First, the FBI does not have ANY 4473's. The dealer keeps them (see Para 3 for an exception). They can be checked by BATFE at the dealer's place of business only in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation, not for the purpose of fishing or compiling a registration list. (The manpower it would take to record every sale of every dealer would be mind-boggling.)

    2. For the NICS check, the dealer provides ONLY information about the buyer; there is no information about the gun itself, only whether it is a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. No serial number, no make or model, no caliber, nothing. The purpose is not to obtain gun information but to make sure that the purchaser has no criminal or mental health record.

    3. Dealers do NOT mail the 4473 to anyone; it stays at the dealer's store unless/until the dealer goes out of business, in which case the dealer's books (which have the same info as the 4473) are sent to BATFE; that has been required for decades. While that information could then be entered into a data base, BATFE does not have the time or manpower to do that. The books simply sit on shelves unless/until a criminal trace request leads to that dealer, in which case that dealer's books will be examined.

    4. Yes, the NICS check provides the name and address of gun buyers; and so, if the FBI chooses to violate the law and keep records, the government will know who bought guns, and can send hundreds of thousands of black helicopters and millions of agents and soldiers to raid millions of homes. If that day arrives, everyone in the country will be in deep trouble, not just gun owners.

    Note the above applies to federal law and the NICS check; state and local registration laws are another story.

    Jim
     
  15. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    +1
    joeschmoe needs to check his sources.:rolleyes:
     
  16. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    The process is largely theater.
    Customer walks in selects the arm and arranges to buy same.
    FFL hands over (or provides electronic access to) a 4473.
    Customer fills out the 4473, dealer, who has asked for identification, fills in the appropriate blanks on the 4473.
    In 20-22-some-odd states, if the ID you handed the dealer to verify you identity is a CHL, the dealer notes that on the 4473, and asks if you need anything else rung up, is that cash, check, or charge?
    In about 30 states, if you do not have a CHL, the dealer gets the phone out and calls the NICS number.
    After reading off the FFL NICS id#, he goes
    "Deauxes, D-E-A-U-X-E-S; Jean, J-E-A-N; Quixote Q-U-I-X-O-T-E
    Address: [address], [City], ([county]), [State] [zip code];
    [additional data if needed]
    [handgun'long arm/other]"

    Then there waiting while the clerk at NICS types info in to their computer screen.
    Which does a {query:Name=[last, first, middle]} & {query:Address=[address]}
    If no match, then Allow
    If either Address match or Name match, then Delay
    If both Name and Address match, then Deny.
    FFL reports this back to customer, and proceeds appropriately.

    The rules are pretty clear that, if Allow is the answer, the transaction record number gets erased within 24 hours. What is less clear is what happens to Delay and Deny transactions. There's anecdotal evidence that those are retained and can be retrieved.

    If it's an Allow, the FFL asks if you need anything else and cash, check, or charge?
    Afterwards, they transcribe the 4473 into their Bound Book. Then they windex the glass case; put back the price tags; or whatever.

    In the States with e state-level check system, it's similar, but the phone call is to the state agency involved. Many of those states have waiting periods, which means you don;t get to leave the store with the arm even if the agency says "Allow." Some of those States will require you to show your State-issued Firearms Owner ID card before starting any of this. Some states will also require you to present your "permission slip" to buy the arm you selected.
     
  17. vtail

    vtail Member

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    What happens to the 4473's after they are recorded in the dealers book? Are they destroyed right then or can/do the dealers hold onto them?
     
  18. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    The FEDS, legally, no. All they get when a 4473 is called in is information about the purchaser, and if it is a long gun, hand gun, or "other". No make, model serial number, or even how many!

    The FFL (me!) is required to hang on to the 4473's for at least 20 years. Same goes for the "bound book" of all the firearm transactions. Those forms are turned over to the feds when the FFL goes out of business ... and end up in the same warehouse as the Ark of the Covenant from "Raiders Of The Lost Ark".

    So, the Feds don't have the information ... -I- do. By the time they get it it's so far out of date as to be useless. (if you have tried to read my handwriting, you would say it was useless from day one!)
     
  19. abajaj11

    abajaj11 Member

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    Yes, this description is accurate! Thank you.
    :)
     
  20. abajaj11

    abajaj11 Member

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    FFLs HAVE to hold onto them for 20 years (paper copies).
    If they go under before 20 years, they have to hand them over to the BATFE who holds onto them forever!
    After 20 years, they can be destroyed by the FFL.
    BATFE can come in and request to see a 4473 under probable cause.
    There have been reports of BATFE agents scanning entire registers from FFLs once they are in there. That is highly illegal if true!
    :)
     
  21. burk

    burk Member

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    Jim, great post. You are correct in everything except #4.

    NICS (at least for US citizens) asks for the following info:

    Name: First, last, middle

    Title:Jr, etc.

    Place of Birth (state or country)

    SS # (optional)

    height

    weight

    sex

    date of birth

    country of citizenship

    Sale of Long Gun, Handgun, or Explosive device (no spot for serial # or make and model)

    And that's it. There is no spot on the NICs data search engine for address. They don't even ask what city you live in, only the state of residence.

    Now, on non-citozens when I've had denials I've had them ask for address on the green card. But all non-citizen checks get phoned in. While you can data entry US citizen checks.
     
  22. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    Horse poop

    I'm an FFL, and I don't mail 4473's to anybody.

    If you don't know what you are talking about, don't talk.
     
  23. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    The dealers MUST hold on to them, for a minimum of 20 years. When they go out of business, the ATF gets them. (Your tax dollars at work .... storage of tons and tons of out of date useless paper ....)
     
  24. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    No, any "government issued photo ID" may be used to establish the transferees identity. Not all CHL's show a photo and to qualify as an exemption to the FBI background check the permit must be from the buyers state of residence and can only be used when buying a firearm in that state.

    Nope. The NICS CSR will say "Proceed".


    Nope. The NICS Customer service rep doesn't get to do that.....they transfer the dealer to an FBI Legal Documents Examiner who compares records.


    Oh good grief.
    They compare everything....name, birthdate, race, ethnicity, etc. (people have been known to change address ;)



    Transactions that get a proceed are erased at the close of the NICS business day, not 24hrs.


    There is absolutely nothing unclear about what happens with Delays and Denys........read the FBI NICS webpage and it will clearly state that Delays are jkept on file until they become a Proceed (and then erased that night) an that Denials are kept on file permanently.


    Nope.......the bound book doesn't record anything but the buyers name and date of disposition as well as the firearm information. No entries are made for buyers address/birthdate/place of birth/gender/etc.


    Uh...........nope.:rolleyes:
    Question 18 "Type of Firearm" asks handgun/Long gun (rifles & shotguns/Other Firearm (frames, receivers, etc)


    There is soooooooo much horribly bad information being given out in this thread.

    If you aren't a dealer who actually has spoken with the FBI NICS you have no idea what they actually ask for.:banghead:
     
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