BREAKING: Attorney General Sessions Orders Investigation Into Lack of Prosecutions for Lying on Gun Background Check Forms

Form 4473 and GLOCK (courtesy fbi.gov)

courtesy fbi.gov

NBC is reporting that in the wake of the shooting in Sutherland Springs and the failure of the NICS system to flag the shooter three different times, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered an investigation into the background check system used during firearms purchases.

Implemented following the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the National Instant Check System is a background check process run by the FBI which gun stores use to check the name of potential firearms purchasers through a database of prohibited individuals. Reasons for denial include felony convictions, a record of domestic abuse, involuntary commitment to a mental health facility or a number of other reasons.

Despite the background check program, prohibited persons still attempt to purchase firearms at an alarming rate by lying on their form 4473’s. As the form makes clear, making false statements is a criminal offense in and of itself. Still, investigations and prosecutions of people who have falsified their background check forms have fell to a shockingly low number during the Obama administration. According to “Shotgun” Joe Biden, the reason for the lack of prosecutions is because the government simply doesn’t have the time.

As we now know, the Sutherland Springs killer, a prohibited person, obtained his firearms after making false statements on his background check forms. Attorney General Sessions has now asked for an investigation into how this happened.

From NBC:

He also ordered another look at the federal form that gun buyers must fill out to buy guns. And he asked for a summary of how often federal prosecutions are brought for making false statements on the form.

Hopefully this latest effort will lead to the Justice Department actually attempting to prosecute those who falsify their background check forms. As it is now, the entire process is little more than useless security theater, which protects no one.

comments

  1. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Enforce existing laws?

    Heresy!

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Only as they apply to little people, or there would be a similar investigation into how about half of Hillary’s staff were ever able to get security clearances.

  2. avatar John in Ohio says:

    “Hopefully this latest effort will actually lead to the Justice Department actually trying to prosecute some of these criminals.”

    Translation: “Hopefully this latest effort will lead to even more infringement of the inalienable individual right to keep and bear arms.”

    Tighten up already existing infringements and deprive even more individuals of their liberty. More gun control is still more gun control regardless of origin; new laws or improving the enforcement of existing ones.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Yup, I think we’re just about the point where we need to start thinking of this as a binary; is “gun control” writ large increasing, or decreasing, by this action? Since we already know that all gun control is at best redundant to other more enforceable law, and at worst counter-productive & corrosive to liberty, it seems reasonable to reduce it or at least tread water. “Increasingly effective background checks” is code for disenfranchising even more Americans of their rights; I think we’re beyond the point where we really need to worry about who exactly those people are, there’s plenty of laws to ‘prevent’ them from doing whatever wrong they care to inflict. Any movement on this issue needs to be met with a counterpoint; *that* is a compromise. How ’bout we trade “increasingly effective background checks” for federal preemption of state laws that disenfranchise people for mere misdemeanors? HPA is a big deal, so save that for another day. But reversing prohibitions for minor crimes that have *never* been historically deserving of the loss of rights (nor ever intended to be by our criminal justice system) in exchange for more money tossed in the incinerator (which is the only “increasingly effective” part of these proposals) would be something worth entertaining.

  3. avatar Evey259 says:

    I gotta say, this is still an infringement on 2A rights. Many, many times I’ve encouraged people to buy guns for personal protection, competition, or target practice and they may get as far as the 4473, but are intimidated by the form itself and stop there. Not because they would fail (after speaking to them all but one had perfectly clean records,) but because the form itself is confusing enough not to proceed and places arbitrary distinctions between criminal offenses (is “spousal abuse” a felony or a misdemeanor? Doesn’t matter, folks!) and uses such ridiculous definitions for the above that a simple argument can bar someone from their 2A rights.

    Shall not, etc., etc.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      For the “spousal abuse” thing I’m fairly certain the terms are: “convicted of…” or “currently under indictment for…”….. Thats a pretty clear delineation. You’ll know if you’re convicted, because the judge will say “guilty” and then meet out a punishment. If you’ve smacked your wife or boyfriend (or what ever) recently, and the cops booked you for it, and you haven’t got word back from your lawyer that case was dropped, then you are still under indictment…… if you’ve never been in hot water with the law because of your old lady, then I’m sure you’re okay….. the form is pretty simple: name, birthday, proof of residence in the state, “yes” I’m a citizen, “no” on everything else, sign, thumb print, rights violated, the end.

  4. avatar Ironhead says:

    Interesting. Not holding my breath that anything good will come of it.

  5. avatar Cliff H says:

    I am not greatly encouraged by the Attorney General of the United States deciding it is time to increase enforcement of a blatantly unconstitutional law.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      While simultaneously electing to forgo enforcement of explicitly constitutional law (i.e. treason & espionage) for political convenience. If the little folks could lobby the way the previous administration can, Sessions would recuse himself of enforcing laws like these as well. Law applied selectively is ultimately worse than not applying it at all (and not much different)

  6. avatar ironicatbest says:

    An immigrant co worker ask me why Norte Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. I thought about it a bit and relayed my conclusion to him. “We celebrate Thanksgiving because a bunch of Gringo’s was starving to death and some Indians invited them over for dinner and after they ate they killed all the Indians.” This country was flawed from the start, she’s mine and I love her, but the U S.track record ain’t so hot. Freedom, freedom, get back to work you black animal, Freedom freedom, here’s your reservation ( prison) happy life, whoops found gold, never mind the Chiefs, kill the wemon and kids. It’s all good everyone’s equal

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Yep. And after all that, we’ve still done far less bad than the vast majority of other nations/empires. And more good, then all of them combined.

    2. avatar Excedrine says:

      Here’s the real truth behind Thanksgiving.

    3. avatar Huntmaster says:

      America is a work in progress. Name one country further along. And if you would rather live in any other country I am sure we could take up a collection and buy you an airline ticket. It would only take a few minutes. The only stipulation would be that you not bring your worthless self back. Maybe you would like North Korea or Venezuela. I’ll even kick in a couple of months worth of toilet paper so at least you’ll be able to wipe your sorry ass while you get used to the bad water.

      1. avatar ironicatbest says:

        …. Venezuela? I was hoping maybe Communist China , I’d have picked North Korea but they don’t have Wal-Mart or McDonalds. That’s weird, a communist country that has a McDonalds, how’d they work that.?

      2. avatar Arc says:

        Norway, New Zealand, Japan, and Iceland, are my top four foreign country picks right now. I’ve been to Japan and every single person I ever met there was extremely polite.

        In all reality.. I would probably just move to Alaska or Idaho if I ever left for another place to live. Its nice and cold there, lots of guns, and very few people.

  7. avatar robby says:

    I worked, in the firearms industry both retail, and wholesale, from about 1980 until 2007.
    In that time I saw the Federal Government diligently prosecute very few
    people. When they did and got convictions the penalties were almost meaningless.
    Like no prison time after a conviction for possession of 5 or 6 unregistered machine guns,
    or 18 months for smuggling 400 bryco 380’s in to Haiti.
    Does anyone out there know of a case where someone received, “10 years and/or $250,000.” for any firearms conviction? I don’t. It wouldn’t take 1000 bad guys going to the Federal Penitentiary for 10 or 20 years for bad guys to look at guns differently.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Find examples where drugs or other crime beyond possession occurred, and you very frequently find such sentences. For lone violations, the ATF typically uses a firm but lenient hand (surrender before confiscation, confiscation before warrants, searches before arrests, plea deals & disenfranchisement before prison time). This is because they really, really, really, really, really…REALLY don’t want anyone but a dead-to-rights degenerate with a trail of crimes fighting these charges in front of a judge. This is because the ATF has a tendency of losing to ‘telegenic’ defendants when the idiocy of our gun control scheme is examined (particularly areas of regulation that have been ‘clarified’ from whole cloth by the ATF like “once a rifle always a rifle”)

      1. avatar Model 31 says:

        A friend of a friend told he once had a ATF guy come up and tell him to stop buying and selling the volume he was doing at gun shows without FFL papers. It was about a 10 minute discussion and that was it, no more selling after that.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        It might also be because in the past some bullshit charges have led to FUBAR situations that they’d prefer avoid.

        When the FBI took over Ruby Ridge and the whole thing spiraled out of control the director wrote a memo of “Things to Consider.” Number 1 on the list was that the “Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit.” (that charge being the illegal sale of 2 sawed off shotguns to the ATF).

  8. avatar SC says:

    no, but they certianly prosecute the guy trying to buy a glock for his uncle using his leo discount.

  9. avatar Model 31 says:

    Not really the kind of winning I was hoping for.

  10. avatar barnbwt says:

    Not for nothing, but wasn’t NICS not the weak link here, but the Air Force records people for not having a clue (or possibly Air Force management for apparently trying to bury any indication of who this guy was, how he got in, and why he got booted out)? And aren’t they outside Sessions’ jurisdiction? Sounds like the former senator is falling prey to “we gotta
    (look like we) DO something” syndrome.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    MEH…coming from that hapless hillbilly I don’t think he’ll do squat. Mebbe he can do civil theft…er forfeiture from those dirty liars. BTW who can’t navigate a 4473? Yes then no 11times. Put yer race in and middle name. Wow tough stuff…😋😋😋

  12. avatar MLee says:

    If they do prosecute someone, it will be nothing more than a show like local authorities do when the get lucky and make a big bust. They’ll milk it for all it’s worth in the media and make statements like: “we won’t rest until all the criminals are locked up” and “we’re always on the lookout for criminal activity” etc.
    The G-men may actually bust a few people and then CNN and the rest of the media cartel will be right there complete with breaking news coverage, but it will still be a dog and pony show with no real substance.
    But hey…if it saves just one life….right?

  13. avatar twonius says:

    Looking at this situation it seems like both sides have, in good faith, wanted to do more on this, but someone doesn’t want to shift the resources.

    In those cases I’d be curious to look at what industry lobbying on this has been behind closed doors.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      The privatized prison industry? The corporate incarceration companies.

      More people locked up, more ROI, and greater profits.

  14. avatar Southern Cross says:

    The NICS has been like the TSA. Pure security theater.

    20 thousand plus reported rejections (90%+ are false positives anyway) results in less than 20 actual arrests and less than 10 actual convictions.

  15. avatar Brian says:

    As we all know, the answer to horrible government oversight is to get the government MORE involved so they can botch the horrible oversight with even worse legislation.

  16. avatar Kendahl says:

    A local cop was killed trying to arrest an armed felon. The felon’s gun came from a straw purchase by his girl friend in another state. In return for her guilty plea, a federal judge gave her probation. Not much disincentive there. The only good news was that the cop’s partner shot the felon dead.

    The Attorney General could direct US attorneys to begin filing federal gun charges against prohibited persons (e.g. gang bangers) picked up by local cops. Those would be easy convictions. The feds would have to build more prisons.

    A plain clothes cop from the gang unit noticed that a gang banger was armed. (I guess the banger didn’t know that “concealed means concealed”.) The banger shot at the cop, hitting his car but missing him. His mother claims it was all a mistake. Her son was receiving threats from a rival gang and only shot in self defense not realizing his target was a cop. He’ll be going away for several decades.

    We are fortunate that the county attorney supports legitimate self defense. Two thugs tried to hold up a tobacco shop. They traded shots with one of the employees with fatal consequences for one of the robbers. The surviving robber has been charged with felony murder. The employee hasn’t been charged or fired. (This was a mom and pop business, not part of a chain.) An armed robbery of a convenience store was interrupted by a customer who shot the robber. The robber is in jail following his release from hospital. The customer hasn’t been charged. There are other examples.

    The state won’t be happy about any of these cases. The prison system already is overcrowded by 50% and is understaffed due to low pay and poor working conditions. Instead of funding the system adequately, state politicians are looking for alternatives to incarceration. The parole board rejects applications only in response to pressure from surviving victims. Until stopped by the state supreme court, corrections officials (deliberately, I believe) miscalculated sentences to shorten them.

    1. avatar Nanashi says:

      Sounds like good reasons to abolish the controlled substances act…

  17. avatar strych9 says:

    I would wager that the reason for the lack of prosecutions/convictions is twofold.

    First, the system produces false positives.

    Secondly, while lying on a federal form is illegal making a mistake is not. Yeah, it’s a pretty easy form and generally if you do make a mistake you can, at worst, redo another copy. However, with a lawyer to muddy the waters you can pass off a lot of things as a mistake or at least take a good stab at it. With that kind of wiggle room it’s probably often decided that the odds of a conviction are low enough not to warrant the resources required to go to trial.

  18. avatar El Bearsidente says:

    But you need to catch them lying before you can prosecute them. If the Feds mess up, like USAF did with the Texas jackass, then he’s not in the system. So you can’t catch him lying because you can’t prove he’s lying.

    So… Eat your heart out, tax payer. Pay for something that will change nothing.

  19. avatar Maxi says:

    In general i would say this is not good for 2A rights. Executing unconstitutional laws usually doesn’t help the whole freedom thing.
    However, in this case, i can see how it is better for the safety. Hear me out please.
    In a world where you don’t have NICS, you would ideally have no criminals running around but most of them in jail. We do not have this right now. The DOJ doesn’t do it’s job, and some judges are so criminal they should be jailed for assisting all these repeated offenders to get out every time. And because tgese criminals can go way to many times and are just told not to buy a gun, this NICS lie enforcement is at least another way to get them the prison time they deserve.
    Nics still sucks and doesn’t work as intended. Gun control as a whole is solely based on intentions, not results.
    But a society with many guns would ideally be one with tough prosecution of those who misuse them. We aren’t. So hopefully this adds to the locking away bad people more than it infringes upon our rights.
    Hopefully it doesn’t backfire at us. But unfortunately they will just prosecute those criminals who were mostly law abiding before and still have a adress and will show up to court and future mass shooters and gang members won’t be captured because that would still cost too much time and effort. So i hear your arguments as well…

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “So hopefully this adds to the locking away bad people more than it infringes upon our rights. Hopefully it doesn’t backfire at us.”

      Nope. It is wrong for prosecutors to infringe on our liberty for sake of “efficiency” or to make their job easier. If you think about it, that is stealing from us. They steal our time and peace-of-mind so that they have more time and peace-of-mind.

      And you already listed the root cause and the solution: our criminal justice system’s practice of “catch-and-release”. Unfortunately, our criminal justice system has no incentive to be effective. In fact it is quite the opposite: our criminal justice system loves catch-and-release because it means job security and even special privileges/rights for many employees of the criminal justice system.

  20. avatar Jean-Claude says:

    A substantial number of people lie on their 4473. Which question? The “do you use drugs, including marijuana” question.

    Nobody answers that one honestly—-and a sizable portion of people who own guns also occasionally smoke marijuana.

    I’ve always found it odd that marijuana is singled out, but there’s no question about drugs which actually cause homicidal and suicidal ideation—SSRIs/anti-depressants/anti-psychotics/Ritalin etc.

  21. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    All this is merely trying to nail the barn door shut long after the horses have escaped. Those who actually want to harm other people will find a way, and won’t be waiting around for ATF to confront them about anything.

    Maybe the ATF could figure out a way to run a NICS on stolen guns, before the bad guys are “allowed” to steal them, or buy them on the street… Makes as much sense as any of the rest of this.

  22. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “… investigations and prosecutions of people who have falsified their background check forms have fell to a shockingly low number during the Obama administration.”

    — and–

    “According to ‘Shotgun’ Joe Biden, the reason for the lack of prosecutions is because the government simply doesn’t have the time.”

    Of course! The more criminals we have running around raping and pillaging, the more resources our benevolent malevolent government can justify. Remember, government exists for its own benefit, not ours. Government actions that appear to be for our benefit are mere theater which said government uses to trick the populace into support.

  23. avatar BobS says:

    I’m not defending the Obama / Holder legacy of ideologically driven selective enforcement, but…

    How many of those 100,000 annual initial DENY results were caused by false name matches or other such mechanical problems, and were later converted to PROCEED when the person appealed? Or could have been converted if the person had the resources to pursue the appeal process?

    All those initial denials aren’t necessarily evidence of the need for higher rates of prosecution, though the accurate ones are. The erroneous ones (false positives) are evidence of the need to fix the system that led to the initial denials, as the industry has been asking for years (http://fixnics.org). A person who lacks the means to appeal an inaccurate initial NICS denial has been unjustly denied exercise of their civil rights, just as surely as if they had encountered poll taxes or literacy tests (or, some say, ID requirements) at the voting booth.

    1. avatar Icabod says:

      Glad you asked. Here is the 2010 report on the enforcement of the Brady Act
      https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/239272.pdf

      Out of 6 million applications, 72,000 were denied. The most common reason for denials:
      47.4% were for convictions
      19.1% were for being a frugitive
      10.6% were for state law violations

      Go down to table “I” and you’ll see the guilty pleas. In 2010 there were 13. 2009 had 32, 2008 had 43 and 2007 had. 46

      1. avatar Excedrine says:

        “The remaining denials (71,410, or nearly 94%) did not meet referral guidelines or were overturned or canceled.” (pg. 5)

  24. avatar Chainman says:

    I was outraged last week in Sessions Congroid Regurgitation, aka Congressional Testimony.
    As the fuselage of questions ebbed and flowed, as Senators selected topics they felt were priority, the point was made that chasing dirty bong water and zig zag paper trails were diminutive in comparison of some issues ongoing but RECEIVING ZERO ATTENTION, such as PEDOFILIA , where a suddenly energized Jefferson Sessions responded with enthusiasm, “YES, I JUST SAW THAT THE OTHER DAY. I COULDN’T BELIEVE HOW MUCH MONEY WAS IN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    I was a big supporter of Sessions, but, he is a piss poor disappointment, and his penchant and priority for SEIZING F*CKING ASSETS sets his bar for action.
    So, POS SESSIONS, guess no one interested in seizing REAL ASS-ets. You can’t seize and SELL CHILDREN YOU ALABAMA POS! SO THERE IS NO VALUE, THUS NO INTEREST IN PROSECUTION.
    DAMN YOUR ASS TO HELL with the other third of Congress said to be complicit in this CIA corruption game.
    People, we’re due for 1776 2.0, but we gotta do an 1812 2.0 first. We have arrived.

  25. avatar Ninja@homefortheholidays says:

    No. It doesn’t work. Background checks don’t work. Period. By classifying certain catagories of prohibited people, it creates a scaffold/framework for gun grabbers to place people in those catagories. There are people who shouldn’t have guns. Okay. Usually the folks trying to take them away from peaceful people. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

  26. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    Damn Right! What Freedoms, burn that Damn inconvenient US Constitutional-Bill of Rights! Its old, written by racist, religious zealot, European white conquerors! Right! (No, our problem is deliberate attempts to destabilize the USA, and its way of life, liberty & freedom !)

  27. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    Demand universal background checks for anything that could be Dangerous. Background checks for all Knives, Axes, Machetes, and Kitchen flatware! No loopholes!

  28. avatar Roymond says:

    This is one of those things that would be wonderful if it just wasn’t government-run and was open to all. As things stand, though, it’s like wanting to repair the security camera for your home by giving the mafia total power over it.

  29. avatar int19h says:

    I bet that Jeff “I thought KKK was okay until I found out they smoke weed” Sessions is going to focus primarily on the enforcement of the item on illegal use or addiction to certain substances.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email