With all the violence lately experienced from gun crimes there have been calls for more background checks to prevent firearms being purchased by prohibited people. Every gun purchase from a federal firearm licensed dealer must use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS, to compare answers on Form 4473 to government databases. Providing false information, such as mental health adjudication, prior convictions, controlled substance abuse, domestic violence, extreme protection orders, immigration status, military dishonorable discharge and other nontrivial information results in a “denial” and is a federal crime.
Last year the check system was used for about 40 million gun transactions with about 300,000 rejections. Some were the results of misspellings, confusion with similar names and date issues, but the vast majority were for falsifying causes listed above. Several thousand were investigated with only 10 to 20 actual prosecutions.
This system hardly seems to be an effective deterrent for criminals or an efficient use of government time and resources. Calls for more background checks need to first examine the failures of the current system.