A group of 13 US Senators led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) are trying to pressure Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops to ignore the law regarding NICS checks. They want these retailers to transfer firearms if, and only if, the NICS check comes back from the FBI as “proceed”.
Under current law, if the FBI delays the NICS check, the FFL is allowed to transfer the firearm after three business days if they haven’t received a denial. Those extra three days are for the FBI to investigate purchasers who may have had a hit in the databases. Usually these are false positives.
If, the customer’s submission ends up in a “Delay” status, it means that the “Hit” produced a possible or valid match in one or more databases, and more research will be required to determine if any federal or state prohibitors apply.
When a transaction is delayed and a final status decision cannot be rendered within the allotted three-business day time frame, and no other restrictions exist, the FFL is legally permitted to transfer the firearm at their discretion.
Like these senators, Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors is trying to pressure retailers like Cabelas, Gander Mountain, and Sportsmans Warehouse to treat delays as denials. As the NRA-ILA Alert notes:
The anti-gunners know more than they are telling, however. First, according to the FBI, if a background check cannot be completed within three days, “the NICS Section continues to search for the information necessary to make a final determination” and, if a person is determined to be prohibited, NICS will notify the BATFE to recover any firearms such person may have acquired. The FBI reports that in 2014, “The NICS Section forwarded 2,511 firearm retrieval referrals to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” something on the order of about 0.1 percent of all firearms sold by dealers that year.
Second, in some instances, even though the FBI continues working on an unresolved check after three days have passed, it will do so only for 90 days, after which time the check is terminated. Were dealers to acquiesce to anti-gunners’ new demand, people could be prevented from legally buying firearms by simply delaying their background checks until the time allotted for their checks expires.
That would certainly “slow down” firearm sales, while gun control supporters continue working toward the registration portion of their long-standing three-part plan by requiring background checks on private firearm sales.
My response to any retailer seriously considering changing their policies in order to appease the gun prohibitionists is a little three word reminder of the consequences. Smith. And. Wesson.
For those unfamiliar with what I’m alluding to, Smith & Wesson under their former British corporate owners had signed a letter of understanding with then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo that voluntarily submitted to the company to government restrictions on sales and distributions among other things. The reaction of the gun community was swift and severe. S&W almost went into bankruptcy and ended up being sold for a mere $45 million to new owners. These new owners quickly repudiated the agreement and the S&W as we know it today was created.
Social media and the Internet were just getting started back during the Clinton Administration. The reaction nowadays to a company trying to appease the gun prohibitionists would be swifter and more comprehensive. Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, Sportsmans Warehouse, and others should take that as a warning and a promise.