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Old February 4, 2013, 04:43 PM   #1
jag2
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Background check penalty

One point I've heard tossed around about not needing new laws, just enforcement for the ones we have. Is there any legal penalty for trying to buy a gun and be turned down? I don't think I've ever heard it was illegal to apply, you just get turned down.
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Old February 4, 2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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I suppose in theory if you're a proscribed person, and they can prove you knew it there might be something, especially at a state level.. Supposedly the anti's are up in arms because "the NRA" won't let the ATF prosecute the people who apply and fail. But I don't know what for, or how economical such a prosecution is given it's success rate. I guess what it all boils down to, is that my personal suspicion, as a layman, is that there is a law out there, but it's a lot like how they described the perjury trial implications for Clemens and Bonds. A whole lotta uphill work for a definite maybe.
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimDandy
I suppose in theory if you're a proscribed person, and they can prove you knew it there might be something, especially at a state level..
It's a federal felony to use false ID, to buy a gun on someone else's behalf, or to lie on the Form 4473... When you sign it, you're certifying that you know all this -- it's spelled out right above the box where you sign: "I certify... I understand... I further understand..."

When it comes to prosecuting people, I suppose it's not always easy to prove that someone who wrongly answers "no" to any of the questions in Part A of the form did so knowingly. And then, prosecuting people costs money... and the courts and prisons are full-to-here with people on trial for or convicted of petty drug offenses... So there are plenty of reasons why there's not much incentive to pursue people who attempt to buy firearms unlawfully.
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Last edited by Vanya; February 4, 2013 at 09:45 PM.
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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It's not a crime to truthfully disclose information that would disqualify you, but as mentioned earlier, it is a felony to lie on the 4473.

Of all of the declined background checks, I'd be curious to know how many are the result of the applicant lying on the form, and how many are just a case of a person not knowing that their answers would disqualify them.
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:37 PM   #5
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^^^ And how many are mistakes.
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:42 PM   #6
2ndsojourn
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"When it comes to prosecuting people, I suppose it's not always easy to prove that someone who wrongly answers "no" to any of the questions in Part A of the form did so knowingly. And then, prosecuting people costs money... and the courts and prisons are full-to-here with people on trial or convicted of petty drug offenses... So there are plenty of reasons why there's not much incentive to pursue people who attempt to buy firearms unlawfully. "

Vanya, a lot of people will agree with that, but unless and until laws already on the books are enforced, and penalties meted out, why should we accept any new laws? Especially knee-jerk ones that are next to impossible to enforce, and only burden the law abiding.
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 2ndsojourn View Post
^^^ And how many are mistakes.
I believe that over 90% of the initial rejections/holds were later reversed. This is why it's misleading when some claim that over 2 million felons were prevented from buying due to the background check.

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Old February 4, 2013, 10:01 PM   #8
terzmo
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NY'ers need a permit to buy a handgun. Already fingerprinted,pictured,logged and thorough background check. You can't sell a gun to a non permitted person, well you could but that a huge no no. And if the other person is caught with Your gun, both go to the slammer.

So I'm assuming all permitted persons are law abiding citizens and the bottom line is why another background check for permit holders.
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Old February 4, 2013, 10:11 PM   #9
Vanya
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2ndsojourn, I agree with you; where did I say we should accept new laws? My point was that there are already laws on the books, and that they're not enforced for various reasons, some of which are not so good...

But if we want the existing laws to be enforced, we'd better be willing to fund that, and to expand the agencies that will do the enforcement; to enforce federal laws, the FBI and the ATF will need a bigger piece of the pie. Realistically, this requires a serious "national conversation" (if you'll forgive my borrowing that expression) about what our priorities are: do we want, for example, to have less punitive drug laws, and to redirect funding from the "war on drugs" to enforcing firearms laws? Perhaps we need to recognize that mental illness is a more serious public health problem than erectile dysfunction, for example, and require health insurers to pay for better treatment for the former, rather than paying to treat the latter. I could go on, but you get the idea, I hope: we don't, as a society, have unlimited resources, and we need to decide how best to use what we have.
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Last edited by Vanya; February 5, 2013 at 12:37 AM. Reason: too many words.
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Old February 4, 2013, 10:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Supposedly the anti's are up in arms because "the NRA" won't let the ATF prosecute the people who apply and fail.
I don't know where they get that argument. If someone is a prohibited person, it is possible to prosecute them for attempting to buy a firearm. It just doesn't happen very often. The DA's caseload is too busy, not enough spaces in the county pen, so on and so forth.

Quote:
I believe that over 90% of the initial rejections/holds were later reversed.
Do you have a source for that? I know that a significant portion are false positives, but I've never been able to find an actual number.
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Old February 5, 2013, 09:57 PM   #11
wayneinFL
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NY'ers need a permit to buy a handgun. Already fingerprinted,pictured,logged and thorough background check. You can't sell a gun to a non permitted person, well you could but that a huge no no. And if the other person is caught with Your gun, both go to the slammer.
I fear this is where we're headed if we accept universal background checks. The only way to enforce it is with regulation and licensing owners.

There are 270 million guns already out there. If my gun ends up in someone else's hands, how can the police match it to me? Even if it was on a 4473 ten years ago, it could have been sold before the ban. Maybe even loaned out.

I'd bet the media is getting a majority of Americans, even a majority of gun owners to back this bill. But they're really not thinking it through, and the media isn't going to let any message through that doesn't fit that agenda.

These are what what I see as the effects of a UBC law:

Continued incrementalism.

People in trouble for loaning a gun to a friend.

People in trouble for handing down a gun to their children.

Gun owners paying unnecessary fees.

Dealers swamped in unnecessary paperwork.

Criminals still acquiring guns through larceny, fences, or straw sales.

Geez... The more I think about it, the madder I get. How the hell does someone under 18 go hunting? Do you have to transfer the gun? What happens when you forget which guns you did and didn't transfer? What happens if your wife gets pulled over with your carry gun in the glovebox? And even if they force dealers to do transfers for $10 a pop, I'm still going to spend a thousand dollars handing my guns down to my kids. One of the best deals I got on a gun was driving 25 miles to meet someone in the middle and trade guns- that won't happen with UBC.

Last edited by wayneinFL; February 5, 2013 at 10:09 PM.
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Old February 6, 2013, 02:17 AM   #12
Texshooter
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As an aside, what was that court case that decided it violated a convicted felons constitutional rights against self-incrimination if they correctly answered questions on the 4473?

Something like that. If I remember, they could not, of course, purchase the weapon, but could not get into trouble for lying on the form.

Anyone?
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texshooter
As an aside, what was that court case that decided it violated a convicted felons constitutional rights against self-incrimination if they correctly answered questions on the 4473?
SCOTUS in Haynes v. US, 1968. Technically, they decided that you couldn't prosecute felons for failing to register a firearm, as registration would violate the felons' A5 rights.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texshooter View Post
As an aside, what was that court case that decided it violated a convicted felons constitutional rights against self-incrimination if they correctly answered questions on the 4473?

Something like that. If I remember, they could not, of course, purchase the weapon, but could not get into trouble for lying on the form.

Anyone?
IANAL, but I think the 5th allows you to decline to answer the question, it does not allow you to lie when answering it.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:24 AM   #15
Spats McGee
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RoadyRunner is right. The A5 says that one cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves, but it does not authorize perjury.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:49 AM   #16
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Supposedly the anti's are up in arms because "the NRA" won't let the ATF prosecute the people who apply and fail.
Think about this statement for a moment. Does it make any sense? No.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:58 PM   #17
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Old February 6, 2013, 02:49 PM   #18
iraiam
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No penalty for being denied, there may be a penalty if you use false information to attempt to buy a firearm.

I was denied once years ago, having never been charged with any crime I knew something was not right.

At the time, I was also receiving letters from the IRS stating that my SS number was being used by others.

I appealed the decision and it was corrected, I never got any explanation as to what the error was, just that it had been corrected.
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