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.
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.