by Warner Todd Huston | November 28, 2014 11:40 am
The federal government’s national gun buyer background check system is defeated by other government agencies and healthcare organizations that don’t update their own information in a timely manner says a new report. In fact, some 186,000 gun sales a year, or 512 sales a day, are OKayed without the proper information on the buyer.
People have this vague feeling that the gun check system is “automatic” because it can be done online. But many gun sales are called in over the telephone and in those cases government employees have to do it by hand.
This Friday opens the busiest season for gun purchases, when requests for background checks speed up to nearly two a second, testing the limits of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
NICS did about 58,000 checks on a typical day last year. That surged to 145,000 on Black Friday 2013. They’re bringing in 100 more workers than usual for the post-Thanksgiving rush this year.
Much of the responsibility for preventing criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns is shouldered by about 500 men and women who run the system from inside the FBI’s criminal justice center, a gray office building with concrete walls and mirrored windows just outside Bridgeport, West Virginia.
There are more than 48,000 gun retailers in the U.S., from Wal-Mart stores to local pawn shops. Store clerks can use the FBI’s online E-Check System, which federal officials say is more efficient. But nearly half the checks are phoned in. Three call centers — in Kentucky, Texas, and Wheeling, W.Va. — take these calls from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day but Christmas.
What a mess!
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