CO Background Check System Overwhelmed, Wait Time: 8 Days, 5 Hours

The state of Colorado officially has no waiting period for the purchase of firearms. According to state law, you’re able to walk in the door of your favorite gun store and walk out with the gat of your choice within about a half hour (including paperwork). But while most states use the FBI’s National Instant Check System to perform their background checks, Colorado relies on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to do all background checks for firearms (which are required for every sale through a gun dealer). And they are completely and totally swamped . . .

There are two interesting points to make here. It’s not news that firearms sales are most decidedly through the roof. The CBI can handle the “normal” volume of background checks, but the stratospheric demand for firearms means that they’re basically under a DDoS attack from gun shops. There are just too many requests for the pipeline that was built to handle the volume. It’s a great thing for the gun industry and we’re probably bringing a few new gun owners into the fold, which is exactly what we need.

But there’s an obvious downside to all this. There’s now a de facto waiting period in Colorado to purchase a gun, one imposed by the police alone with no legislative basis. It’s more than slightly troubling that speed brakes of that magnitude can be applied to legal firearms purchases without any legislative action.

I’m not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the current run on firearms yet, but thanks to the CBI’s Twitter updates, I think I’ve found a pretty good way to keep my finger on the pulse of the gun industry. When they start gaining ground on that backlog I’ll know that we’re heading back toward some sense of normalcy.