The FBI took a lot of guns from felons, but context matters – Bearing Arms

The FBI took a lot of guns from felons, but context matters – Bearing Arms

When you undergo a NICS check via the FBI, not everything gets done in a timely manner. After all, some of you reading this were able to pick up your guns after the three-day waiting period versus getting cleared right off the bat.

I’ve known several who fell into that camp.

For them, the annoyance was in having to wait, and for good reason. A right delayed is a right denied and all that.

But sometimes, people who are prohibited from owning guns get through. That means the FBI has to go and round those firearms up.

It seems they had to do that a record number of times.

The FBI seized a record number of firearms in recent years from people who failed federal background checks, as pro-gun rights groups continue to scrutinize the Biden administration for allegedly targeting the Second Amendment, according to newly compiled data.

In 2020, the FBI made over 6,300 firearm retrieval referrals to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, in connection to people who were deemed ineligible to possess guns based on their military and criminal records, mental health, and other factors, according to the data. The following year, in 2021, the bureau issued more than 5,200 referrals, marking the largest two-year referral total.

Orders for citizens to have their guns seized come when FBI analysis deems later that they should be ineligible. Data for 2022 has not been publicized, and the 2020 and 2021 data represent a small portion of firearms purchased through the background check system annually.

“Historically, the NICS Section has experienced an increase in firearm retrieval referrals as increases in overall background check volume occurs,” an FBI spokesperson told USA Today.

But let’s look at this in context. Based on these numbers, we’re looking at roughly 11,500 guns taken.

That’s just a smidge over a quarter of the number of the NICS checks conducted on January 29th of this year. That seemingly arbitrary date was chosen because it has the fewest NICS checks conducted in the first two months of this year, with just 41,686.

Now, extrapolate that out for an entire two-year span and you start to see something interesting. In particular, just how rarely this happens.

That’s glossed over in the above-linked USA Today story, which offers this instead:

The numbers follow years of surging firearm sales. Yet they also underscore a longstanding tension in the system: Federally licensed dealers are permitted to proceed with weapons sales in cases when background checks are not completed within the required three business days.

That “tension” isn’t really there.

We’re talking about a tiny fraction of a percent of all firearm sales getting past the FBI in the first place. It’s statistical noise, all things considered.

So while the media wants to sound the alarm on this sort of thing, it’s really a non-issue.

For those who follow this sort of thing, though, there’s nothing overly surprising here. Criminals don’t go to gun stores. Even those who haven’t been caught or convicted of anything typically don’t go to gun stores because they don’t want anything traced to them.

They get it from some guy they know on the streets. In those transactions, there’s no communication with the FBI or NICS or PTA. They just hand the gun to anyone with the money, even children.

The sooner activists and the media start to realize this, the sooner we can move past the demonization of gun stores and gun owners. These numbers and the associated context matter. It’s just too bad we seem to be among the few interested in it in the first place.

USA Today sure as heck isn’t.

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