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DC – ATF – Spiking U.S. gun sales deluge FBI’s background check system, cause delays

REUTERS.COM September 15, 2020 – A surge in people buying guns since the coronavirus pandemic began has flooded the FBI’s background check system, causing a spike in the number of delayed checks and allowing gun sales to proceed without them, FBI data disclosed on Tuesday showed.

Gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety obtained FBI data through a Freedom of Information Act request. There has been a 54% increase in the number of background checks that were delayed past three days in the March through July period, as compared with the same time last year, the data shows. More than 5% of the 5.86 million background checks conducted during those months this year were delayed past three business days, it showed.

More Americans are trying to buy guns than ever, according to FBI data. The bureau conducted 93% more background checks in that March through July period this year as compared with the same period the previous year, when it conducted 3.03 million checks.

Background checks may have become more difficult to complete as state law enforcement and other government agencies housing records may have been closed or slower in replying to FBI requests because of the pandemic’s impact on staffing, said Rob Wilcox, deputy director of policy at Everytown.

If an FBI background check takes longer than three business days, a gun dealer can sell the firearm to a buyer, under current regulations. [full article]

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