META: LAW: Brady Bill update

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 04 Feb 1999 16:52:17 -0500

I was talking with a high school buddy the other day, who happens to own a gun shop. I asked him how the new Brady Bill II requirements for insta-checks on all gun buyers was working. He said the following interesting things:

  1. the ATF and FBI refuse to acknowledge the actual number of people who have been rejected by the insta-check system, or of the number of these people who have been or will be arrested, prosecuted or convicted for the felony act of attempting to purchase a firearm by a previously convicted felon. The 'actual' numbers are supposedly around 13,000 felons who have been 'prevented' from purchasing guns, according to Handgun Control, Inc., Sarah Brady's little fascist movement. They acknowledge that NOT ONE person has been arrested, charged, tried, or convicted yet for these felonious acts, but they claim that (apparently they, unlike anyone on the pro-gun side, can get inside information, in violation of federal regulations) "investigations, which take time, are pending", which obviously could mean anything. Pending in the round file...
  2. the methodology of the Handgun Control Inc's numbers are as follows:
  3. if the application is instantly refused for any reason, count it as a 'prevented gun purchase by a felon', even if it is not a felony, even if the offense that is in the database is not qualified to prevent a gun purchase. ii) if the application is not refused within 3 days, and the person is legally allowed to buy the gun, as per the regs, but something later comes up (it apparently does not have to be a felony to make a hiccough in the system), then that is also counted as a 'prevented gun purchase by a felon', even though the person has actually been allowed to buy the gun and may have it in his or her posession for as much as 6 months before the feds catch up with the paperwork. iii) if the application is not refused within 3 days, and the person is allowed to take the gun home 3 days after the purchase, and the ATF actually does not have any problem with the person, it is still counted as a 'prevented gun purchase by a felon'. iv) if the application is not refused within 3 days, but the person is a former felon (it is possible to get a felony conviction expunged from your record if its not a violent felony and if you jump through certain hoops) but the ATF does not come through with the approval code for the purchase within 3 months (even though the purchaser has been allowed to take the gun home), it is still counted as a 'prevented gun purchase by a felon'.

So it seems like the HCI propaganda is most probably a complete smokescreen to justify their lobbying. Unfortunately the Clinton's and the Gore's are touting the stats right out of the HCI press releases as if they are fact, and the public is eating it up like gospel. Even congressional Republicans are repeating the anti-gun spin.

What is the Harm? you might ask. Well, for starters, people are being prevented from being able to arm themselves against imminent danger, which has already caused several deaths, mostly of women who were killed by their husbands with illegally obtained firearms. Not only that, but the system is adding around $10 to the cost of every gun purchase or repair (note: if you take your gun in for service, you have to go thru the insta-check system to get your gun back, and you may not get it back for several extra days while they hold it pending the check). Gun shops have to pay for the cost of extra phone lines to use for the instacheck modems/thin-clients, and for the long distance charges (it apparently does not function yet over the internet). Moreover, the feds are holding onto the records of your gun purchases for at least 6 months, and they want to hold onto the information for as much as 18 months, all of which is in violation of the law requiring that the information be destroyed immediately after approval is granted.

Mike Lorrey