Firearm Purchase Delays in Montana & the Danger of Universal Background Checks

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Firearm Purchase Delays in Montana & the Danger of Universal Background Checks

Montana – -( Dear MSSA Friends,

A gun owner in eastern Montana contacted me to say that a corporate chain store in his area that also sells firearms refused to transfer a new firearm to him until the background check cleared, even though he has a CWP and the background checks are being WAY slow.

I checked and other corporate FFLs are applying the same policy.

I thought you might be interested in my response to this guy (below).

BTW, this problem is just one reason it is so important not to let the anti-gunners [or a Biden-Administration] “close the gun show loophole” by invoking a “universal background check” that would make the Brady Law apply to private transfers of used firearms, in addition to the now effective government monopoly over new firearms.


So, here’s the deal.

The FBI runs the NICS “instant” check system. They have been slammed with workload and cannot keep up. They are running 30 days and longer on NICS checks.

The Second Amendment and its equivalent in the Montana Constitution, Article II, Section 12, are restrictions on government entities and government activities, but not on private parties. The Brady Law, the federal law that restricts sales of new firearms by federally licensed dealers (FFLs), says that if the FBI doesn’t issue a denial via the NICS of a purchase within three days, then the vendor MAY transfer a firearm to a purchaser.

However, neither the Second Amendment or the Brady Law prevent a vendor from being more restrictive, as Runnings and other corporate FFLs (such as Cabellas, Sportsmans Warehouse, etc.) have chosen to be. It’s like a private merchant’s prerogative to enforce “No shirt, no shoes, no service. The only exceptions to this broad prerogative for private merchants would be for certain types of discrimination, such as a policy not to sell to women or Asians (although a merchant’s policy to not sell Bowie knives or gunpowder to ten-year-old boys would probably be allowed as a class of discrimination).

I understand that the BATFE, which regulates FFLs, has recommended to FFLs that they wait to transfer affected firearms until the FBI catches up and clears a NICS check for that firearm. Because of this, especially corporate FFLs believe they might have some liability exposure if they transfer a firearm without NICS approval and that firearms is subsequently used for something illegal. Corporate FFLs have watched the destructive lawsuits by the anti-gunners against FFLs that transferred firearms that they allegedly shouldn’t have transferred.

Despite that concern, a person would think that transferring firearms to customers who have a CWP (effectively a standing NICS check) would avoid that liability for FFLs, so the FFL would feel legally comfortable with the no-more-than-three-day-delay built into the Brady law. There may be an opportunity for education of FFLs concerning the NICS delays, liability avoidance, and transfers to people with CWPs.

Having said all of that, it should be an item of interest to actual and prospective customers if a vendor has a policy that will delay the consummation of a sale for a month or more. I’m working on getting some media attention to this issue so that customers will be better informed about where to shop, or not. Buyer beware.

Thanks for reporting this to me. Let me know if there’s any more info I can provide.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana

Montana Shooting Sports Association

About the Montana Shooting Sports Association:

MSSA is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit:

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The other Jim

Yes, the name of the Corporate Chain Store? In the first sentence “a corporate chain store in his area”…the name? It would be helpful to know; they should be exposed. Why would we go there and waste our time? We don’t know who the Corporate Chain Store at issue is.


Ammoland is scared that the “Corporate Chain Store” will sic their lawyers on them for “outing” them. Everybody’s scared of the bottom feeding liars, uh lawyers…


I am not sure who the chain store is but whoever it is they are Dick’s.

Dave in Fairfax

I don’t see how you decided that AmmoLand is scared. The article was published. It was written by the President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. That doesn’t sound like “scared” to me.


” (such as Cabellas, Sportsmans Warehouse, etc.) ” I’d imagine it’s one of the two

Idaho Bob

Based on the above letter, the store is Runnings. They are a farm type store. I’ve been to Runnings twice while in Montana. Nice store, but I’m very disappointed in their actions and won’t go there again.


Don’t just quietly not come back. Write or email them and TELL THEM WHY. Put the pressure on them to “reconside” their wretched plicy. Sometimes dumbcorporate dweebs make such policies, not realising they are shooting themsevles in the foot. Which is fine, but I guess they need to know they MUST conduct the background check on the gun htey use to shoot themselves in that foot. That wa it’ll be “legal” If a store manager gets enough notes from enough people, and yu remind him Fed law does not REQUIRE he wait, maybe he’ll reassess. If you just quetly disappear… Read more »


All the more reason to avoid the multinational corporations. My small town Montana FFLs don’t do this. NONE of them! Business is booming!

The other Jim

@Idaho Bob, Runnings…went to their website. Yes, shame as it does look like a nice store. Appears to be about 47 locations around the country. Another one for the Do Not Patronize list.


Name names. Call them out by name. Second issue. Free markets solve this problem over night. When gun owners boycott said “Corporate Chain Store” said corporation will bend to their will in the same manner that they will bend to leftist pressure. We need to learn the effective tactics of the left and when moral decency allows apply those achieve our objectives. Doing the “John Boehner” when you are frustrated by corporate bureaucrats gets you nothing. Assuming the fetal position and weeping gets you nothing. Hit them in the pocket book. The limp weenies running corporate America are only concerned… Read more »