How Gun Background Checks Work?

By infohub — Feb 18th, 2018

Gun Background Checks, How Gun Background Checks Work
Since the Kennedy assassination in 1963, there have been several attempts to limit gun purchases in the United States. The Kennedy murder led to The Gun Control Act of 1968 that prohibited certain people from buying guns. After another assassination attempt of President Reagan, that left press secretary Jim Brady paralyzed, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was mandated since 1993.

According to the act, certain guns and arms vendors are required to run a gun background check on the person wishing to buy a weapon in order to prevent dangerous persons from purchasing and using a lethal weapon.

Who is forbidden from buying a gun in the US?
The Brady act clearly stipulates the those who cannot buy a gun after a gun background check are:
  • People convicted of a crime and and were sentenced to over a year
  • People who have been convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to over two years
  • Addicts
  • People who have renounced their US citizenship
  • Fugitives of the law
  • Illegal residents of the United States
  • People who are diagnosed as mentally ill – including people who were found guilty by reason of insanity, those who have been involuntarily committed or those that have been found unfit to stand trial
  • People who have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • People that had a restraining ordered issued against them
  • People who have been convicted of domestic violence
an engraving of a man holding a gun

What is a gun background check?

In order to make sure that a perspective buyer of a weapon is not a part of any of the groups mentioned above, vendors are obligated to run a gun background check on them. The check requires an ID to be presented to the seller, and also filling out an ATF Form 4473 with personal information that includes address, age, race, criminal record and more.

After the form is filled out, the seller runs a gun background check on the buyer by submitting the information he recieved to the FBI via a toll-free number. The background check takes a few minutes, and during that time the FBI runs the check trough the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The information provided by the NICS will determine whether a buyer can purchase a weapon, or if there is reason to decline his business.

a store sign that says guns

Who runs a gun background check?
Not all weapons dealers in the United States are required to run a gun background check, but those that do have to follow all the necessary requirements mentioned. Buyers that wish to purchase a gun through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) vendors, including retailers and independent sellers of fire arms are submitted to a gun background check.

Those who wish to buy a gun in a gun show or online are not required to go through a gun background check. In addition, each state has its own stipulations, reservations and rules when it comes to gun control, so buyers must find out what the law in their state says about gun background checks.


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