System Break Down? Fall Back on the Constitution


National Instant Criminal Background Check System NICS
National Instant Criminal Background Check System NICS

USA – -( When the system and laws break down, Americans must fall back on their State Constitutions and the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution represents the trunk of the tree of government and laws, with state constitutions, statutes, and regulations branching off of it. If there is ever a fault or failure in these branches, the natural path is to bypass the problem branch and return to the Constitution. In the current Chinese coronavirus scare, we see examples of various “non-essential” government agencies going to skeleton crews or shutting down entirely. Some of these agencies that are cutting back play a role in the convoluted process and many paperwork hoops that lawful firearm purchasers are required to jump through. That’s a problem.

U.S. Code says that if a National Instant Check System (NICS) criminal background check on a gun purchaser turns up some information indicating that the buyer might be a prohibited person, but the system can’t verify the information, then the file is kicked out of the computer to a human to investigate further, and a “Delay” order is sent to the dealer selling the gun. Under the law, NICS has 3 business days to resolve the question, before the dealer may proceed with the transfer. Some dealers refuse to ever do transfers without a green light from NICS, while most automatically complete transfers after 3 business days.

In the midst of the panic and confusion caused by China’s COVID-19, the FBI, which operates NICS, has sent out a directive to gun dealers, warning them that the “3 business days” allotted for investigation of “Delayed” reports, means 3 days during which all of the various repositories of information that a NICS examiner might call upon to clear-up a question, are open. That means that the closures and skeleton crews mentioned above are making it difficult for NICS examiners – if they are even still working – to do their job, and that gun dealers are supposed to refuse to process any transfer until the government gets its act back together and everyone gets back to work.

This is totally unacceptable.

Gun Shop Closed
The closures and skeleton crews mentioned above are making it difficult for NICS examiners – if they are even still working – to do their job, and that gun dealers are supposed to refuse to process any transfer until the government gets its act back together and everyone gets back to work.

The 3-day limit was included in the law as a fail-safe, specifically to prevent the government from being able to block firearm sales via bureaucratic inaction or computer glitches. The definition of “3 business days” has always been Monday through Friday, not including federal holidays.

It is outrageous and indefensible for the FBI to be redefining this term now.

At the time the “Instant Check” compromise was worked out between the NRA and Congress, as an alternative to the 5-day waiting period mandated by the Brady Bill, we opposed the whole concept, but if the bill was going to pass, we were pushing for the best deal possible, including a provision that offered more protection to dealers and gun buyers. Our version of this transfer option would have required NICS to automatically send out a “Proceed” notice to a dealer after 3 business days or 5 calendar days, whichever was shorter. There would have been no discretion left to dealers as to whether or not to transfer the firearm and no negative repercussions for dealers doing so. While that’s still not a perfect solution, it would have provided more legal and PR protection for dealers, and a stronger guarantee for people exercising their right to arms.

Of course, our compromise on the compromise wasn’t adopted and instead, we got “Instant-Check” language that provides that a dealer may transfer the firearm after 3 business days, and the FBI’s reinterpretation turns that on its ear, making the “Delay” indefinite.

Similar chicanery is occurring in states that run their own checks, rather than relying on the FBI’s NICS system, and among state and local agencies that issue concealed carry licenses and permits. As with the FBI, processing background checks and license paperwork appears to be a low priority for many of these agencies, and the response from the agencies and the politicians that oversee them has been abysmal. They simply don’t care. They don’t care that it’s a constitutionally protected right. They don’t care that their bureaucratic indifference could cost someone their life. They don’t care that the red tape is unfair, racially-biased, and discriminatory. They just don’t care at all.

Meanwhile, around the country, dozens of petty dictators, in the form of governors and mayors, are issuing “shelter-in-place” orders, requiring “non-essential” businesses, like gun stores, to close their doors, and in some cases, claiming the authority to legally prohibit the sale of guns, ammunition, gasoline, liquor, and other “dangerous” items. So far, no one has offered up any rational explanation for why such restrictions might be needed or how they would assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Some patriot-gun shops in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and probably other states, have refused to close their doors, in spite of orders from politicians and police to do so. As of this writing, there have been no serious confrontations, but seeds have been planted and things could easily get ugly in a hurry.

The really frustrating part of all of this is that there is a simple and obvious solution: Obey the Constitution.

Gun owners are constantly being berated by gun control advocates and the media for not being “reasonable” and accepting “minor inconveniences” in the form of additional restrictions on firearm ownership rights. Well, the laws that are currently on the books, which law-abiding gun owners follow every day, are examples of gun owners being reasonable and compromising. And the current blocks, delays, and bans in the name of protecting society from a germ, are examples of why we resist all of these “minor,” “reasonable,” “commonsense” gun control laws that they keep throwing at us. They’re not minor, reasonable, or commonsense. They’re infringements on our rights, and they cause the most harm at the worst times.

Many supporters of “reasonable” gun control laws in California have begun to realize just how unreasonable those laws really are, but they’ll probably reelect the same politicians who gave them those laws, come November.

In our constitutional republic, the default position for any law or regulation is always supposed to be to the benefit of the individual, not the government, and the burden is always supposed to be on the government, not the individual. This is especially true when dealing with enumerated rights. If we allow the government to institute some laws that encroach on our rights, it is the government’s obligation to ensure that they do so in the most limited way, and it is the government’s burden to meet. If they cannot meet their burden, the process must default to the benefit of individual rights, not the convenience or preference of the government.

In Arizona and many other states, the governor has declared that people with drivers licenses that are expiring, will be given a grace period and their licenses will continue to be recognized as valid for a yet-to-be-determined period. The same sort of blanket extension should apply to all concealed carry licenses and permits, and all firearm owner ID cards and purchase permits in states that require them. If government agencies are unable or unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities in processing firearm and ammunition sales, then those restrictions and regulations are null and void. As to any suggestion of forcing gun stores to close, or banning the sale of firearms or ammunition, such notions should be roundly rejected as blatantly unconstitutional, and immediately quashed by the courts.

The Firearms Coalition is in discussions with attorneys and legal scholars to determine the most expedient way to force a stop to this government neglect, overreach, and duplicity.
A right delayed is a right denied. Saying “We don’t have the personnel,” is not an acceptable excuse for withholding fundamental rights.

Jeff Knox
Jeff Knox

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit:

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Deplorable Bill

Besides your normal, everyday issues, in times of trouble read the instructions. Start with the BIBLE, then the constitution, the bill of RIGHTS, the amendments and the declaration of independence. EVERY American citizen who is of age and is NOT in jail or the loony farm has, not only the right, but is mandated to do so from the LORD HIMSELF and the 2A.

Arm up, carry on.


I still think even if you have a felony and paid for your crime as long as it wasn’t gun related you should still be able to own a gun there are plenty of dictator police depts and judge who hit people with Felony’s because they can and do
I’m sure there will be push back on this but I believe the Consitution stands for all not except if you have a felony


Are you really that stupid? So for instance, in your world, as long as the rapist didn’t use a gun during his/her crime they would be able to have a firearm after serving their time? As long as the person who beat someone so badly they spent several months in hospital and rehab didn’t have a gun they would be able to have a firearm when they get out of prison. Shut the hell up you ignorant shit!


My first response to “None’s” post was to curse the darkness. Nothing wrong with that. But, after some thought, I considered that perhaps I should also, “shine the light.” With that in mind allow me to add to my previous post. Ok, None, I’ll go along with your idea of letting felons have firearms once they have “paid for their crime” and gotten out of prison. However, in order to be able to have that provision, I would like to stipulate that if a person commits a crime wherein the victim(s) of said crime could have legally used deadly force… Read more »


I don’t think there should be a blanket “you have forever lost your rights”, but I wouldn’t support giving them back automatically when released. Nothing is 100%, some crimes restore after a time. Some crimes never.

Heed the Call-up

Until the 1938 FFA, felons did not “lose their RKBA”. There is no provision in our Constitution to strip people of their Constitutionally protected rights, one of which is the RKBA. The reason we are at this precipice of losing our RKBA is because politicians have convinced you that the government grants us our rights and can take them from us. That is exactly opposite of what our Founding Fathers believed, wrote about, spoke about, and set in our Constitution. If a person is too dangerous to trust in our society, that person should not be allowed in our society.… Read more »


Heed: I find your post disingenuous at best. But, you keep being you.

jack mac

RoyD: Those who govern us having the power to deny a right form individual ‘free’ citizens, places all private citizens at severe disadvantage.

Our governing has established an official prohibited underclass of free citizens. An underclass, that all must treat as such or risk being so subjugated.

Heed the Call-up

Roy, please explain how my post is disingenuous. As Jack further explained, one does not even need to be a felon in most states to have your RKBA removed from you. One can just have a protective order against him/her or worse yet, an ERPO, as well as several other states where just a domestic assault charge is enough, which does not necessarily mean physical assault. Then we have states like CA, NY, MD, where the RKBA is so onerous, costly, and legally perilous, that unless one is a LEO or otherwise well-connected, most people are effectively disbarred their RKBA.… Read more »


Heed, for one thing you admit that the solution is much like that which I have offered up and then turn right around and say we can’t have that because most people wouldn’t like it. So you give up and don’t press for the real solution. Sounds like you are just shouting in the wind. What good does that do? Then you say that people can’t protect themselves because the “law” won’t allow it. As I have stated on this site numerous times, I carried a gun in violation of my state law for about twenty years until we got… Read more »

Heed the Call-up

Roy, I have never stated that we do not have the right to self-defense, quite the contrary. What the law does not allow, and we do not have the right to do, is commit murder. Neither is my discussion on the death penalty anything like your proposal. Nor did I state we should employ that, I only stated that would be the only means to permanently prevent a predator from further preying upon society. None of my post was stating I want any of those things. I was only highlighting ideas that have either been proposed or actually passed into… Read more »


Heed; still sounds like you’re braying to hear yourself bray. But, that’s alright, keep being you.

Heed the Call-up

Roy, when you are able to post something other than an ad hominem attack, we can then have a debate on ideas. I don’t need to insult you, your words insult yourself enough, unless you pride yourself on ad hominem attacks, then you have proven yourself, yet again.


That’s fine Heed, you put forth your thoughts and I will put forth mine, as will others. Those that people find have merit will win out; as it should be. I am sure we agree on some things just as we might disagree about this. That is how it is. Conflict can make you stronger if you don’t let it destroy you. See you down the road.

Heed the Call-up

Roy, what is meritorious in your ignorant ad hominem attacks on me? Debate makes one wiser, only if it is with intelligent discourse, not schoolyard ad hominem attacks.

I see you choose to deflect and avoid the debate you believe would make you stronger. You have yet to post a rational reason(s) for disagreement with me. I can only assume it is you are too weak or afraid to debate based on contrasting ideas.

jack mac

Heed: People who consider your post “disingenuous” must believe themselves invulnerable to being subjugated into the prohibited person underclass of free citizens. These people could be merely ignorant of the fact that a felony conviction is not required to be subjugate to the prohibited. 1934, 1938, or whenever, our governing officials took the power to deny rights from individual ‘free’ citizens. Ever since our officials have been increasing their power to so subjugate more ‘free’ private citizens. The point in time when our government took this power over our population, is when it ceased to be of, by, and for… Read more »


Demand the NRA help fight to abolish the NICS they wrote. All this was Unconstitutional before this virus. I’m just glad some of you are waking up to see how dangerous these laws are. Better late than never. But on the back side of this craziness, I expect to see a full blown war on these 2A infringements on the constitution. Anything less is ridiculous.


UncleT —

I am now more convinced than ever that we are related. It’s either that, or you are a brother from another mother. It’s people like you, as well as others on this site, that are leading the way. Just know that I got your six. Stay frosty.


Uncle T : don’t hold your breath waiting for the NRA to do something.


Solid advice for any country teetering on socialism. As for those Californian’s that “probably won’t change their voting stance,” if only because to be an illegal is to be a Democrat, even despite those laws that system produces that ride them roughshod, is because of three things: (1) It’s what they are used to from where the come from. (2) They simply don’t care. (3) Are too lazy to do what it actually takes to know who they are voting for. In all cases: ignorance is bliss.

Green Mtn. Boy

USA. This!
The government is only to make laws that are within it’s enunerated powers and the 2 nd. amendment is not one of congresses or the presidents enumerated powers granted by the governed,We The People.
Thus any and all gun control laws are un Constitutional,repugnant and void, no matter what any congressional tyrant or president would say.
As to the FPC,it gets a three way share of money that used to go to Negotiating Rights Away as they played a share in infringement along with congressional tyrants.


Unconstitutional (un-Constitutional?) and repugnant; I like that. And we also agree that any law that is un-Constitutional is void, no matter WHAT, unless someone wants to try to amend the Constitution, which (luckily) was not made an easy process.

I love that Californians are becoming aware of what a mess they have created in their state. I can’t believe that Illinois (you need a “firearm owner ID card” there to buy firearms or ammunition) even cut some slack on self-defense during this “crisis”.


the governor or Illinois did NOT “cut them some slack”. No, he somehow was made aware that laws enacted previously regarding disaster and =emergency situations INCLUDED that gun and ammunition providers were “essential businesses” and cannot be shuttered by governor fiat. He could have said nothing and the stores wouild be able to carry on their business unmolested. But he chose to include that on his list, most likely to cury favour amongst gun owners and liberty/rights minded folks. I suspect he knew that if he did not mention it, someone else woild and thus make him look bad, and… Read more »

Dubi Loo

, You hit it center mass when it comes to Prick ster, the tax rat bastard.

Will Flatt

The government isn’t about to start limiting themselves now. Politicans only want one thing: more control. And there is no voting our way out of this, unless one votes with lead.


Far too many people dont believe this! They actually believe that they/we can change this with a ballot. You think these people care what we SAY? They will only be MADE to care when their asses are swinging in the breeze.

Will Flatt

And only 3% of the American people were actively engaged in fighting the war for our independence. Ask yourself, what were the people who weren’t fighting doing? If your answer is the same thing as what today’s people will be doing, you get to go to the head of the class. We don’t need a majority, as Sam Adams pointed out. Just a tireless minority willing to constantly set brushfires.

The players have changed, but not the game itself. And tyrants of any age all need the same thing: final justice delivered pronto.

Wild Bill

@WF, The scary part is that the modern day wanna be tyrants have turned the system, that our revolutionary fore fathers gave us, into the tools of tyranny to use against us. We must institute more controls over our government employees.

Will Flatt

That’s why I believe Propertarianism is the answer. That’s why I’ve posted John Mark’s videos on this forum. You can also visit his website at


No we get the shaft and look over our shoulders while owning guns


You, None, deserve the shaft.

Mark 2nd

I’ve said that many times Will. I’ve known something like this was going to happen for a long time, just not the actual catalyst. Now is the time to organize and plan for SHTF if you haven’t already. Anyone with normal intelligence can see the world is in a state of rapid deterioration and “government” collapse. It’s only a matter of time now, and very short time at that. Talk to each other and plan for the worse. This is more than likely, the end of the world as we know it.

Will Flatt

I’m in a constant state of improving my preps and have been for 25 years. I’m still nowhere where I would like to be. But the preps I’ve accumulated have literally saved me in a personal SHTF crisis in my life. Glad to see you see the same things I do!


The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammo box! “Use in that order”!

Will Flatt


But it’s rapidly coming down to that last box. The tyrants aren’t taking the not-so-subtle hints that we mean business.


That’s because the would-be tyrants now have a total IQ of less than my shoe size. They can’t see the F5 tornado headed right for them! The blind fools.

Will Flatt

Government is so far outside its Constitutional mold, the only way it’s going to resume obeying the Supreme Law of the Land is by force of arms against the government. If there had been a peaceful option in the last 60 years we would have been able to do it by now. The fact that all avenues of redress have failed underscores the need now to use the cartridge box – while we still can.


“Political power comes from the barrel of the gun”….Mao Zedong


Will; I have doubts about any armed rebellion restoring our Republic to a Constitutional Government. I’m not saying it cannot or could not happen, I just have doubts because there has always been a faction of people in this country who thought they were the ones who were supposed to tell US what to do. It is a miracle that our Founders actually created the Constitutional Republic that became The United states of America.

Will Flatt

Ken, I get it. Human nature being what it is (according to the Bible, corrupted) it is indeed remarkable that our nation’s founders were able to create such a durable republic. They themselves were presented with all manner of temptations to assume absolute power, and they declined. George Washington was offered Kingship, and he said HARD NO. Aaron Burr, our 3rd Vice-President under the Constitution, fancied himself a King and thought he could establish a monarchical nation west of the USA. Thankfully, him killing Hamilton killed whatever political aspirations he may have had. Yet, think about it. Our nation was… Read more »


Thought provoking and nicely said! Unfortunately thinking has been weaned from the populace over a long period of time! Unintended consequences are always the last thing at the discussion table!


WF has studied and knows the truth. He doesn’t just believe… he KNOWS! There is a huge difference. From the incorporation of the “United States” as a private corporation to “establish order” over (really to plunder) the South following the unCivil War, to its taking of the blame for all the carpetbaggers they unleashed, to its going defunct as its illegal nature became known, to its charter being paid back up 3 years later by private parties unknown, the “United States” has been corrupted long before even our Great-Great-Grandfathers were born. Its way past time to throw off this yoke… Read more »