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“We are talking tiny numbers here, but it appears that less people are being denied, but more of those (being denied) are being arrested.” – VCDL president Philip Van Cleave in Arrests of illegal buyers at Va. gun shows trending up [at]

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  1. Well, as long as the illegal buyers already have valid arrest warrants issued against them prior to the attempted purchase.

        • “Are you on the terrorist watch list” is not a question they ask on a 4473, and therefore you can’t be held responsible for that. On the other hand, “Have you been convicted of a felony” and “Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective” are both on the form, and are things you should know the answer to.

        • Yup you should know if you are lying on the form. But not all denials involve lying on the form nor do they involve known priors. I have a former acquaintance I worked with everyday at Fort Sill (he was active duty Army) who had no idea he was on the “no fly list” until he was denied a gun purchase at a LGS. It took years of legal foolishness and I really don’t know if he ever got that obvious mistake fixed. That is not something to be arrested for.

  2. 1. Does Van Cleave ever say anything stupid?
    2. Amazing that the T-D quotes him more than Goddard. Probably because he didn’t say anything stupid.
    3. Unlike Goddard.
    4. Failing a background check is not in itself a crime.

      • Of course that begs the question, should it be illegal for former felons (that have completed their sentence in prison, not the escaped variety) to keep and bear arms?

        • If used a firearm in the commission of a crime (or perhaps violent crime) then yes they should be prohibited.

          However what felon EVER completes their sentence (punishment, not PC reform). due to BS probation etc.

        • We need to totally rethink our sentencing system. If someone is released from prison, that should mean they are not a threat to society and have their rights. You commit murder, attempted murder, etc you are going away pretty much forever.

        • All other considerations aside, and just for argument’s sake, at what point exactly do you lose forever your natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, AKA: self defense? The 2A states rather clearly, “… shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t then add, “Unless we are really, really mad at you for something you did years ago.

          I submit that once a person is released from prison he has as much right, and often more need, to defend his own life as anyone else. (And no, I am not a convicted felon.)

  3. From the article….

    “…State police declined to speculate on why the arrest rate was climbing”

    Hmmm.. maybe because the number of transactions doubled. Just based on the dumb luck of numbers and percentages you are going to catch more or anything when you have twice as many to choose from.

    Ironically the number of ‘criminals’ did not equally double indicating, to me at least, that most criminals are not trying to pass background checks at gun shows. Maybe they are instead shopping on the black market?

  4. I’ve never failed a background check so I’m curious, does the ATF require any extra actions from the FFL if a person doesn’t pass? Does the ATF contact local police or does the issue sit until they feel like investigating something?

    • On a denial, the transaction can’t proceed. Usually the state police will look into it to determine if the buyer was actually lying on the form(at least in VA). VA is actually pretty aggressive in chasing those down.

    • Interesting, I was at the local Academy today and witnessed a “denial”. There was no fanfare, calling of police, etc. All the lovely sales person did was give the prospective purchaser an “appeals” form to fill out. I also believe he has to have his prints taken and checked. I believe there’s a 21 day period for them to accomplish this.

      This was the second one I’e witnessed since Jan 2013.

      PS I’m in Florida.

    • The system flags people who have been recently investigated by LE. If there is nothing amiss then it just delays the transaction a few hours. Case in point, anybody who has recently had security investigation gets flagged because it doesn’t say why. After further review it is soon discovered that there is nothing wrong. This happens quite frequently in the DC area since many people hold security clearances.

      • I got flagged once in a state level security check because of a federal level security clearance I had. Basically the right hand(the state) didn’t know what the left hand(the feds) were doing. Took about an hour to figure it out. I’m always surprised at how often government agencies have no clue about what each other are doing. I shouldn’t be, having as much experience with them as I have.

  5. Can we just stop using the derogatory term “illegal” gun buyers? I prefer “unauthorized” or “disenfranchised” or even “background check deficient”. Stop labeling people with derogatory terms, it’s derogatory!

  6. I heard once that something like 95% of denials are reversed. Invalid Denials happen for reasons like ID theft and immigration DBs not being updated. They are ultimately reversed but it takes a while. At the gun store I worked at, we had a customer who was a very high up IC official who was stuck “In Research” for over 6 weeks!

  7. Given the number of weirdly defined words in our criminal justice system, it would be very easy to “lie” on a 4473 without knowing it. It pretty much takes a lawyer to help define what past misdeeds may or may not disqualify you from purchasing a firearm.

    Unless it’s a second or third attempt, or you give a fake name, or something really obvious like that, nobody should be arrested for failing a background check.

    Also, if you can’t be trusted with private ownership of field artillery, you can’t be trusted to be in public unchaperoned, so we shouldn’t even have this nonsense.

    • I really only see one question on that form that you could reasonable argue ignorance to, and that’d be the “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” question. The reason I think that one is arguable is there have been quite a few cases of someone who took a plea deal 15-20-30 years ago, and then more or less forgot about it, because it was just a misdemeanor. The charge they plead to may be (or may have been reclassified as, don’t get me started on that) a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, but they barely remember the plea at this point, much less the classification. Those folks have an argument. As far as the questions about felonies, or illegal alien status, or being an unlawful user of a controlled substance (not getting into whether it should be illegal; it is, currently, and that’s what matters), I think there’s no argument that you know the answers to those questions, and if you lie, then you are clearly lying to obtain something you’re not legally allowed to have, and you should suffer the consequences.

  8. Ultimately it’s no ones goddamn business what I buy or when I buy it. Regardless of whether big brother has arrested me or accused me of something that they deem illegal. The biggest criminals are the largest purchasers of weapons and yet they have the gall to tell their bosses what they may or may not own? Any assclown on here that thinks the gubnant should be allowed to infringe on the 2nd amend. needs to immediately hand over their firearms. You are what is wrong with America.

  9. I’ve been to a lot of gun shows in the last 25 years. I’ve worked a lot of gun shows in the last 25 years. Virginia is the only place I have ever been to a gun show where I saw someone being escorted out in handcuffs for trying to buy a gun. Just sayin’…


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