Firearm Confiscation: FBI issues 4,000+ Gun Seizure Orders
It can’t happen here – wanna bet? According to a report in USA Today, your favorite law enforcement agency, the FBI, has issued 4,170 orders to the ATF to seize firearm from their owners. The move came after the agency discovered that the purchases were not actually authorized. The improper sales were discovered during a federal review of the agency tasked with overseeing millions of firearms sales each year.
The report states that the persons named in the seizure notices were not eligible to purchase the weapons because they had criminal records, mental health problems or other issues that would have initially disqualified them from making the purchases. According to sources, this is not a new problem. In fact, the FBI’s gun seizure order total for 2016 is the largest of its kind in 10 years.
Both agencies keep the actual number of seizures very quiet, so it is not clear exactly how many of the seizure requests ATF agents actually executed last year. Neither is it known publicly the total number of guns that were seized during the operations. But USA Today reports that the total number could easily exceed 4,000, because multiple firearms can be purchased in one transaction.
According to federal law, the sale of a firearm is allowed to proceed if a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) analyst does not complete a background check within 72 hours from the time the buyer tries to purchase a firearm. By law, the ATF must retrieve any gun that is purchased because of a failure to complete the background check, if it is later determined that the person is not legally eligible to buy a weapon.
The problem here is that it is not known why the number of seizure orders was so high. And under current law, neither the FBI or ATF is required to report back on the number of weapons that were seized during the operation. Another troubling aspect of the report is exactly why the “comprehensive review” was ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month. The FBI and ATF are currently conducting the review.
However it is known that Sessions decided to order the review after a breakdown in the agency’s reporting system made it possible for Devin Patrick Kelley who murdered 20 people in the Sutherland Springs church shooting to illegally purchase the rifle used in the shooting. Kelley should have had a big red flag on his name since he was a Dishonorable Discharged veteran, had a felon charge of abuse on his record and had several mental issues. All of which are disqualifiers for the purchase of a firearm under federal law. US Air Force officials have acknowledged that they did not transmit a record of Kelley’s 2012 court martial to the FBI following a domestic assault charge. That alone would have prevented Kelley from purchasing the rifle.
Last year, the number of people purchasing firearms set new records every month. In fact on the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, the FBI received 203,086 requests for background checks. That number is more than the previous two record setting years. The FBI says that in 2016, 185,713 requests were made on Black Friday and the total for Black Friday in 2015 was 185,345. Obama may have been a terrible President, but he was great for gun sales.