USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “Feds issue 4,000 orders to seize guns from people who failed background checks,” USA TODAY ‘exclusively’ reported Monday. “[T]he background check system should have blocked from buying weapons because they had criminal records, mental health issues or other problems that would disqualify them.”
The “orders” are next characterized as “requests” from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They want ATF agents “to retrieve guns from prohibited buyers.”
How does the “need” for that happen?
Federal law requires National Instant Criminal Background Check System firearm transfer checks to be completed within three days. If that doesn’t happen, the transfer proceeds. If the FBI later finds it would not have been approved, they notify ATF to initiate retrieval efforts.
It’s hardly a new process, despite claims of an “exclusive” based on “a USA TODAY review” and the subsequent amount of hysteria being generated in the media. The “4,170 gun purchases cited in the story were listed in the front-end summary of the 2016 NICS Operations Report. Similar reports could have been issued last year, and the year before, and… (While still drafting this, a reader forwarded similar observations by Stephen Gutowski at The Washington Free Beacon.)
What’s going on to bring this up now?
There have been a lot of gun sales lately, despite the best efforts by the gun-grabbers to convince everybody that the public’s appetite for firearms is dwindling. Then there was the Air Force screw-up that did not forward disqualifying records on that loser who shot up a church and had to be stopped by a good guy with a gun. That prompted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to order a systemic review to keep the government from being embarrassed again. Add to that the “bipartisan bill” where John Cornyn is inexplicably intent on helping Chris Murphy take “baby steps.”
Then consider the source, or in this case, the sources. USA TODAY, with its chainsaw bayonet hysteria, is hardly an objective broker when it comes to “gun control.” Neither is its parent, Gannet. They're the parent of that paper in New York that published a map with names and addresses of legal gun owners, and then hired armed guards when frightened by justifiably angry backlash.
Likewise, “former ATF official” David Chipman is a spokesman for Giffords (the reboot name for Americans for Responsible Solutions), which recently called for restrictions on muzzleloaders and even on shutting down “ghost gun” websites. Of course he’s going to hype the danger of retrieval (without producing substantiating documentation) and then stump for longer waiting periods.
So how would that retrieval work, and how much effort is put into it?
“The FBI said the ATF is not required to report back on the status of the retrieval efforts,” USA TODAY admits. “Yet in 2004, the Justice Department's inspector general found that the ATF's retrieval efforts were plagued by staffing shortages, technological inefficiencies and a general lack of urgency that resulted in recovery delays of up to a year.”
That means we’re not likely to see nationwide teams of balaclava-masked, machine gun-brandishing feds kicking in thousands of doors and hurling flash-bangs into windows throughout the Republic.
“Of the nine outstanding cases, five buyers could not be located,” USA TODAY explains. “Two had already re-sold the firearms. One case was turned over to local authorities. And another was not pursued because the agency ‘did not have the resources to retrieve the firearm,’ the report found.”
The government could have probably gotten the buyers for lying on the 4473, but why give ‘em ideas?
Not knowing how the “retrieval” process works I asked an attorney and colleague who responded:
“What happens most of the time is that the ATF will make a few phone calls and say the weapon needs to be returned/forfeited ‘or else.’ I’ve handled one of these ‘take back teams’ requests for a guy that didn’t want to forfeit his pistol. I told him I was not interested in violating the law, but if he wanted to pay me to fight it I would. I believe the .gov will eventually need a warrant to get inside to get the gun involuntarily but I’ve never been involved in that type of case.”
We expect overblown, gun-grab agenda-advancing hysteria from USA Today. What we shouldn’t expect (but sadly have come to) is the same kind of hyperbole from “A+”-rated John Cornyn, who is trying his hardest to give concessions to the gun-grabbers with “Fix NICS,” which Rep. Thomas Massie just warned will be tacked onto the national concealed carry reciprocity bill being voted on this week in the House.
“For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn gushed. “Just one record that’s not properly reported can lead to tragedy.”
Way to throw private sales under the bus, senator. And say you finally manage to surrender that point completely: Does anyone with a brain think that would slow down the slaughter in “black market”-dominated places like Chicago or Baltimore one bit?
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.