Frustrated with the Trump administration’s decision to categorize gun stores as “essential,” gun control groups and Democratic U.S. Senators are hoping to keep firearms out of American hands by indefinitely extending wait times for gun purchases.
Everytown for Gun Safety issued a “guidance” letter to state governors asking them to prohibit the automatic transfer of firearms if the Federal Bureau of Investigation cannot complete a background check within three business days. Everytown argues that the FBI will not be able to handle the influx of new gun owners purchasing firearms in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
“As America’s governors move heaven and earth to free up hospital beds for COVID-19 victims, they shouldn’t have to worry about how many of those beds will be taken by gunshot victims,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “So as gun sales surge, we’re urging governors to extend the background check window and give law enforcement the time they need to complete each and every background check.”
Everytown also praises Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, who issued an executive order on March 20th extending the wait time to 30 days for state and federal law enforcement to complete a background check.
A group of Democratic U.S. Senators also sent a letter to the leaders of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, urging them to tell gun stores to wait until a background check has been completed before transferring a firearm.
“Guidance should urge FFLs to wait for NICS to complete those background checks before transferring firearms, and remind FFLs of their obligations under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(b), (d), and (x) not to transfer firearms to any person whom they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, is prohibited from possessing a firearm,” the letter states.
The letter was signed by senators Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, and Mazie Hirono, among others.
Congress included the three-day transfer window in the 1993 Brady Bill to prohibit the FBI from indefinitely delaying a background check and thus revoking-by-bureaucracy someone’s Second Amendment rights. And, as GunsAmerica discovered in our investigation of NFA item delays, the FBI is more than happy to sit on a background check if they don’t have a time frame within which it must be completed.
Along with promoting longer wait times for firearms purchases in the middle of a global pandemic, Everytown includes in their “guidance” a list of additional measures they believe governors should take:
- Educate the public and first-time gun buyers about the risks that come with gun ownership;
- Promote the secure storage of firearms;
- Address the increased risk of suicide by ensuring extreme risk protection orders are designated as “essential” court services;
- Protect families by ensuring domestic violence restraining orders can be sought and issued, and providing continuity of services to victims;
- Ensure essential community gun violence intervention programs can continue to work and give them the critical support they need; and
- Prevent criminals from obtaining the parts to build Ghost Guns