“What police officer that’s now doing a job do I bring in to handle these cases? Homicide detective? No. Patrol officer? No.” – King County Sheriff John Urquhart in King Co. prosecutor seeks crackdown on denied gun buyers [via king5.com]

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60 Responses to Quote of the Day: Not Enough Manpower to Investigate NICS Rejections

    • Or the traffic cops sitting around waiting to give speeding tickets out. Passed three in 5 miles this morning…

    • You say that like it’s a bad thing.

      The ONLY saving grace of the unconstitutional NICS system is the fact that it does not work.

      • I disagree. It was never intended to work, it is a foot in the door of registration. The LEO here is correct in his clear assumption that the law is meaningless and impossible to enforce, not worth the time of a single person who could actually be accomplishing something. But he should be required to explain that to *CONGRESS*. This is costing endless time and money and accomplishing absolutely nothing. Time to repeal.

      • @ Cliff H, I knew that if I left off the “/sarc” notation at least one person would take it seriously. Sorry it was you, I thought you were more perspicacious than that. Disappointing.

  1. Why would I try to buy a gun from an FFL if I knew I would be denied? Either I don’t know I’m restricted, I’m just that stupid (granted these are criminals), or it’s a false denial. If I know I’m restricted and there’s bad intent in my heart I’m going to just get a gun from another criminal. Simple.

    • It’s fairly common for people to be unaware that they’re a prohibited person. Mostly people who thought their record had been expunged, but just because the state can forgive and forget doesn’t mean the feds will. Not sure how you’d know for sure unless you tried and found out.

      • I had an arrest on my record, but no clear link in NICS to the dismissal of the charge. It took Colorado 31 days to clear me for a purchase. Fortunately, I had other guns already.

    • Criminal law used to be simple. If you were found guilty in court, you were a convict. If not, you weren’t. Now, there are diversion programs under which, if you behave yourself, nobody ever says, ‘Guilty as charged.” That doesn’t mean you haven’t lost your gun rights. In my state, there are two ways to learn if you are ineligible to possess firearms. One is to pay a lawyer several hundred dollars to investigate your situation. The other is to pay the county sheriff $5 for a permit to acquire a handgun. If your application is rejected, you know you’re ineligible.

      • Nah, there’s another way. Apply for the NICS ID Number or whatever it is called. It is recommended for people who get denied because of screw-ups with mis-identification. Which is another discussion.

    • Plea bargaining and sentencing negotiations are likely the biggest culprits in a lot of these denials. If you were convicted of a crime for which you COULD have been sentenced to a year in jail, but received probation or a lesser sentence, you’d still be disqualified. A friend of mine – responsible guy, NRA instructor even, started getting denied because an event in his youth came up. A misunderstanding in the return of a rental car (really!) ended up resulting in charges for auto theft. He plead to a lesser misdemeanor and served no time – but it later came back to haunt him. Cost him quite a bit of attorney time to get his rights reestablished.

      • I don’t think it works that way.
        If you are charged with a felony, but plea bargain it to a misdemeanor, you are convicted of the misdemeanor, not the felony.
        An *arrest record* might reflect the felony charge, though.

        • Ah, Here’s the “Catch 22” If you are charged with and convicted of a crime for which the maximum penalty is over a year, even if the judge sentences you for only the time you’ve already served awaiting trial, you are disqualified.

        • Mike: “Ah, Here’s the “Catch 22” If you are charged with and convicted of a crime for which the maximum penalty is over a year, even if the judge sentences you for only the time you’ve already served awaiting trial, you are disqualified.”

          Few misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of more than a year. Most plea bargains are specific, and reduce the charge to one that carries a lessor maximum, for just that reason.
          In such cases as you mentioned before, it’s usually the *arrest* record that causes trouble, not the ultimate verdict. “…but it later came back to haunt him. ” There’s not enough info there to say whether the it was the arrest or the conviction caused the problem.
          We just don’t know, because Defens doesn’t supply enough information.

  2. I’ve often said that the current background check system was a huge waste of resources, manpower and money, that could be put to better use in catching actual criminals.

    • And, it is precisely this point that we ought to press home.

      The cases under discussion range from mis-identifications, bad paperwork, misunderstandings and potentially serious problems. OK, so, either these NICS checks and 4473 are 99% security theater; or, they serve a useful purpose. Let’s find out. Isn’t this a good idea?

      Let’s have the FFLs phone in the DENIED response to the local police. The police investigate and make a preliminary determination of what might be the case (mis-identification . . . serious). If it’s a mis-identification then put pressure on the ATF to clean-up their matching procedures. Bad paperwork, get ATF and the local court systems to clean-up their processes and errors. Misunderstandings, a word to the wise ought to be sufficient. No point in making a peaceful citizen’s life miserable for a case lacking processional merit. If the denied buyer is a dangerous felon then let’s cry-out for prosecutors to enforce the law.

      Perhaps the outcome of such a national social experiment is that we will all come to the conclusion that NICS and 4473 forms do NOT do what they purport to do; i.e., promote public safety. All the resources devoted to enforcement efforts, plus all the efforts to comply with NICS and 4473 forms, ought to be invested in enforcing common-law crimes of violence.

      • Several things to consider:
        – Calling a sheriff who just said he has no one to do investigations would not add to the ability to investigate NICS denials.

        – Railing about how lack of follow-up to denials proves NICS is worthless only supports anti-gun arguments that the system needs improvements; the entire system.

        – Claiming NICS does not prevent, permanently, any prohibited person form obtaining a gun elsewhere only highlights the “success” of preventing the prohibited person from getting a gun through a legal outlet, at that moment in time. And that is valuable because delay in getting the gun will have some deterrent effect due to more time to consider, and reject, the purpose intended.

        Point being, be careful in trying to beat idiots at their own game. The will always beat you with experience.

  3. How about the guy hiding behind a bush on the interstate? oh wait, he pays your salary, so I guess not.

    How about the guy eating donuts behind a desk in the records department? Oh, that’s right, he’s the mayors retarded cousin and couldn’t find his ass with both hands, which is why he’s behind a desk in records.

    How about you, chief big mouth? Oh, wait, you haven’t worked a case in years and probably couldn’t even find the paperwork if you tried. Not that doing real police work is even part of your job description anyway.

    We’ll, I guess you’re right… those felons will just have to go free for another year or two. I won’t take up anymore of your time, I’m sure you have a dog to shoot or a homeless person to lynch.

    • In seven years living in King county, I’ve never seen a KCSD speed trap. Even Washington state patrol rarely operates them (budget cuts maybe). Now Seattle PD on the other hand…

  4. From the linked article:

    These attempted purchases were made by drug dealers, accused child molesters, robbers, and domestic abusers.

    Satterberg says they broke misdemeanor or felony laws by filling out the paperwork required for a gun purchase.

    Or they have a name that’s the same as, or close to, a drug dealer, accused child molester, robber, or domestic abuser. Or somebody somewhere in the records chain bumbled things and transposed a street address. Et cetera. In which case the denied person is not a criminal and did not break any laws.

    I suggest we start demanding that existing gun laws – particularly including this one – be enforced before new laws are added. Given how long and how expensive it can be to get the FBI to clean out a NICS mistake, I also suggest we demand a law that makes the FBI, and the agencies that provided the false information, jointly responsible for all court, travel and lost-wages costs for people who are denied, arrested and charged, and then have to fight first to prove their innocence and then again for their records to be cleared up. In the case of states that don’t use NICS, burden goes to said state agency in charge of performing the checks.

    The combination of a large number of innocent people being prosecuted, plus putting the financial burden back on the state when one is presumed guilty instead of innocent, will create enough of a stink that the system is either fixed or eliminated. But you need both. Really prosecute the denials so the falsely accused are a large enough body that can’t be ignored by their political representatives. And make the system pay for false denials; otherwise the bureaucracy has no incentive to fix itself.

    • Like I said before;

      Aaron M. Walker says:

      January 15, 2017 at 10:28

      How about we just concentrate on making the 2nd amendment available to “all ” lawful US citizens ! Especially, those who live in “anti freedom states / Anti pro2@ / authoritarian states”. Who INFRINGE on it’s citizens Constitutional rights on daily basis ! We need an addendum to the 2nd amendment that makes it a “Capital crime” for any Politician, Police , Judge, Private landlord , Private Organizations, Employer, Doctor, etc. to infringe upon in any manner. A lawful US citizens Constitutional rights. With compensatory damages of not less than 250k per event . As well as fines, prisonment , and other legal liabilities… All Civil Rights should be available to “all ” Americans, NOT just a few…[Re: Any person going from one state into another…Has the same rights as any other citizen in any other state…] …Also, there is no such thing as “Pre crime “… And Murder is a crime…It is already against the law…

      • Aaron,

        “We need an addendum to the 2nd amendment that makes it a ‘Capital crime’ for any Politician, Police , Judge …”

        We have a law in place for that … 18 U.S. Code Section 242 Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law.

        There is no law in place for private entities.

    • God help you if you’re John Smith from Anywhere, USA trying to legally buy a weapon. I can guarantee you you will be getting a 3-day hold.

    • “These attempted purchases were made by drug dealers, accused child molesters, robbers, and domestic abusers.”

      I have absolutely no sympathy for these persons. They are despicable any way you look at it and in the proper circumstances I would terminate any one of them with extreme prejudice and not lose a minute’s sleep over their demise.

      However…I defy you to find ANYTHING in the Second Amendment that authorizes the government to deny them their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. And don’t talk to me about due process. That applies to criminals convicted of criminal acts, and even as much as it may be applicable while they are in custody, it still does not and CANNOT revoke their natural rights, only curtail or suppress them to the best of the State’s ability.

      The only way to Constitutionally and legally revoke any person’s right to keep and bear arms is to confront them in the act of committing a crime and shoot them dead.

    • Most States have similar laws to the Feds. Ehen Ken Cuccinelli was VA AG he prosecuted more prohibited persons attempting to by a gun than the Obama Justice Department did in tbe same time period.

    • Ugh, seriously.

      I teach concealed carry classes down in Lewis County, and we always have people from King County in the class asking about open carry in Washington.

      In Lewis County, nobody cares. I’ve gone a lot of places with a lot of guns on my person, and the ONLY time it’s come up in conversation is when someone wants to stop and talk guns or ask about my inlaid walnut grips. I accidentally ran my RV into a state trooper once, in full view of a lot of other troopers, and got out to look at damages with a GP100 on my hip. And you know what happened? Nobody cared.

      In King County, its a whole different (and more Californian) world. A doctor once saw my empty holster (because I’m polite about not having a gun on when I have to drop my pants for a physical) and called the police. I wouldn’t open-carry in King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties if you paid me to.

      Maybe those WA-Exit people are onto something. But just, like, King County maybe.

  5. If the background B.S. system were really working as pretended, er, I mean, intended, then each blocked purchase would be an automatic slam dunk conviction of a violent bad guy who was just about to commit even more crimes.

    It *should* be self-supporting in terms of manpower, as every punk popped for being blocked by NICS should be one less punk whose numerous and more serious subsequent crimes now won’t take place and now won’t require police resources to investigate.

    Failed background checks should be a boon to law enforcement, the best investment of time that pays back dividends for years to come. Yet, by this guy’s own admission, following up on failed background checks would only draw resources away from other purposes and not yield any outsized benefit.

    This is just more proof that background are not about and were never about crime reduction or criminals at all. They’re only meant to harrass, inconvenience, and stigmatize honest Americans exercising their rights. Background checks are just a governmental appliance of aggression against your rights.

    Don’t ever support so-called “universal background checks.” That just expands the assault. Don’t be complicit in the infringement!

  6. OH MAN! The government does’t have enough people to govern, that sucks.

    Love it when they make so many rules they can’t even keep up with themselves. lol.

  7. The feds want thier own police forces so they can enforce unpopular laws in the states. Pretty soon they will have top authority and the feds will control the states.
    It is only a power grab and the Patriot Act is its excuse.

  8. How about this: you have a violent felons/domestic dispute division? How about drugs? Homicide/manslaughter? Then sort rejections by type and flag for the appropriate desk. See? Simple. So easy an InfantryMan can do it.

    • I suspect that most of the denials are for unpaid traffic fines. Not paying a ticket makes you a fugitive from justice, the equivalent of Whitey Bulger as far as NICS is concerned.

      • I discovered while selling guns at an FFL locally that if you had a concurrent background check in progress, for example a security clearance renewal, you could often be denied. Never did figure out why.

  9. Gee I thought they’d investigate ” for the children”. Luckily I have a very rare name so I’ve never hada problem with a false denial. But what if you have a common nom de plume? My very own wife has a brother who married a woman with the same name( different middle). She went through hell with all the BS. her sister-in-law had on her record. No she hasn’t bought a gun( yet) but I’m wondering about the intelligence of NICS. Many people have no idea they’ll be denied. Smoked a joint in 1974? No gun. Spent 2 days in jail forchild support 38years ago? Yourscrewed…get rid of it.

  10. We have to use this example to our advantage to illustrate that Almighty Government — the object of Progressive worship — is utterly and totally unable to usher in utopia.

  11. Good. Let these regressives waste money on pointless tasks while more and more people get into making gun traceable guns from scratch.

    Call me a bit archaist or something but at this point we’ve got more than enough data to suggest that gun control is just a waste of time as a whole. Hell we already have data suggest that a lot of ‘crime guns’ that are imported are knock offs made in illegal shops anyway. I’ve seen multiple news reports where two or three guys in a grass shack are making production quality handguns.

  12. Leave it to the feds and get rid of the state law if you can’t enforce it. Otherwise you’re just creating criminals without actually doing anything about it.

  13. As I understand it each and every law enforcement officer takes an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States when they take the job. That being the case, every LEO who attempts to enforce or is required to enforce the unconstitutional NICS system is another created criminal.

    The people on the also unconstitutional “prohibited persons” list(s) may in fact be guilty of criminal behavior, but exercising their RKBA under the Second Amendment is not one of those crimes.

  14. I purchased a Ruger American in .30 06 in June of 2013. Got denied (not the only gun I have purchased before that) and appealed the denial. Just got the gun last month! Not that the systems doesn’t work, it just works with the exceptional speed and efficiency the Feral Gvmt is noted for.

    BTW, the Ruger American is an awesome rifle.

  15. If it were possible, wouldn’t it be fun to see a list of government budget priorities in these states? The real people in a given state face budget priority issues, the government should not be allowed to ask for more money for anything until the basics are fully budgeted: public safety, public hospitals, public transportation and roadways. Those should be the only types of demands on the treasury that are fully funded, every year. Everything else is a “nice to have”, and there is no moral obligation to fully fund those. When you see governments trying to meet every imaginable “need”, you are fully wrapped in the “nanny state”, where chaos, not order, takes the day.

  16. They are going to have so many false arrest cases because of fed bungling they will stop this policy very quickly.

  17. I work in King County (but refuse to live there), and it is one of the worst examples of sleight of hand budgeting I’ve ever heard of. They want to spend ever increasing amounts on social services, and then they say they don’t have any money for law enforcement. And yes, I know this is common around the country, but they just pushed a $54 billion train system through. The cost for the first phase is $185 million per mile.

    King County has more than enough money to pay for this. But they won’t.

    • A train system cannot possibly cost $185 million per mile. I can see maybe as much as $2 million per mile through a heavily developed downtown area. Much beyond that is simply diverting public money to some politician’s pet “contractor”.

  18. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Washington State has mandatory Universal Background Checks now? Didn’t the fool realized that it was going to generate more paperwork and crap for them to deal on the daily basis.

  19. So, what is the point of the 4473? Who does it benefit?

    Is it illegal to transfer a gun to a felon?
    Is my buddy a felon?

    Is the guy who just walked into my gun store a felon? If so, and he uses a gun I sold him in a crime, who else gets slammed?

    So the 4473/NICS regime exists to cover the gun store. A proceed order from the guy on the phone documents the gun dealer’s reasonable belief that the customer isn’t prohibited from owning a gun.

    Arguments on whether felons, et al, should be prohibited from owning guns is another matter.

  20. They absolutely should reassign patrolmen. Have them deal with actual crimes (or at least suspected crimes) instead of issuing speeding tickets.

    • I disagree publius. Speeding kills too. Just ask my uncle Christopher. No wait. You can’t. He died in 1983 by a speeding truck hitting his motorcycle on the side of a Colorado mountain.

      Yes for speeding tickets. They save lives.

      • Speeding does not kill. Failure to keep a safe distance, not stopping for red-lights, not using turn signals or looking before changing lanes, etc kill people. Police themselves admit that speeding poses no danger, which is why they try to arrest those who warn people about speed traps. Speeding tickets are purely about revenue and have absolutely nothing to do with safety.

        • True, Publius.
          If speed killed, we would have no living astronauts.
          Even on the roads, it’s not the speed, it’s the errors drivers make that the speed leaves less time to correct.
          Nascar demonstrates that, with proper training and experience, AND WITH LIKE DRIVERS AROUND YOU, speed itself is not dangerous. (Well, it is, sort of, but the analysis of crashes shows someone did something wrong.)
          And, of course, it’s the sudden stop.
          It’s not the drivers doing 5-10 over who are dangerous, it’s the ones doing 20-30+. They themselves may be safe drivers at that speed, but they are surrounded by drivers who are unsafe at any speed.

  21. I haven’t read all the comments yet. And I dont t see it brought up. But I thought someone had said on this site years ago the 4473 forms were struck down by an appellate or Supreme Court because someone that fills out those is a witness against themselves if they lie on the form they can’t be prosecuted for a crime. The main reason why they cannot be compelled to be a witness against themselves. So that by and by makes the background check system only an abridgment of citizens rights and nothing to really prosecute and stop crime. Perhaps someone’s Google fu can prove or deny my conclusion. Either way. It’s a broken system and the government prefers it that way. It’s just to infringe on law abiding citizens.

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