Trump’s Thinking About a Phone App for Gun Sales Background Checks

gun sales background check phone app

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The quote of the day is presented by Guns.com

Fortunately, widespread public access to this kind of individual data could never be abused or misused.

The app would be connected to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks system that could be used to complete background checks on private gun sales, three senators and other officials told The Washington Post.

However, lawmakers and congressional aides have privately raised privacy concerns for gun owners about the app idea.

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told The Washington Post that he was told about the app by a White House official. Thune said he was concerned gun owners’ personal data being available, adding that it “would kind of be a de facto registry.”

“It’s fraught with a lot of issues when it comes to some of the Second Amendment concerns,” Thune said.

– Marina Pitofsky in Trump, lawmakers consider app that would conduct background checks: report

 
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comments

  1. avatar PK says:

    No, thanks. I’ll go without.

    1. avatar How-D says:

      The phone thing is part of a larger tracking program. The app would likely require full time location tracking of the user and contact authorities if the signal goes offline. Doesn’t mean you’re in trouble yet but raises a flag if you head to the mall without your phone.

      But it’s all for our own protection.

      1. avatar Cadeyrn says:

        Plus it will relay all kinds of other data like what websites you visit, whether “keywords” are searched, typed or entered, everything you say and do. Every “app” does this. They all steal everything they can and now they can usually activate your microphone too. This is ostensibly so they can be ready to accept your verbal command, but both Facebook and Google have been busted lately capturing and recording literally everything all the time 24-7. Bedroom? Recorded. Bathroom? Recorded. Work? Recorded.

        It’s like the stupid insurance company apps. Oh, yes, they’ll give you a discount – as long as you drive like a granny. Their app tracks your acceleration, cornering, decleration, g-forces and speed. You cross the line into something they think is unsafe and your policy is terminated. No accident, no notice. They simply won’t renew you because they’ve deemed you “dangerous.”

        Think that’s a good idea for personal protection?

    2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      No,No, thanks. I’ll go without.I’ll go without,not NO but hell NO.

      1. avatar Sebistian says:

        I read the title and then checked the date…thought it might have been April 1st.

  2. avatar S R says:

    Wouldn’t be a privacy concern for everyone? I’m assuming you would need to enter identifying info such as social security number to get a clear to buy. Theoretically anyone could decide to buy a gun, whether you’re a current gun owner or anti-gun. Entering anyone’s number would give you the pass / fail. Am I missing something?

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Perhaps I’m not understanding this article properly. Is this app for an FFL to use for convenience, or for anyone to use on anyone else? Would the app require an authorization code (provided to an approved user that has requested one) to prevent it being used by just any John Q. Public?

      I need more info before I can give an opinion on it.

      1. avatar Jim says:

        I believe this app would be used by John Q. Public for private party gun sales & transfers of ownership.

  3. avatar LifeSavor says:

    Oy gavult!
    Sadly shakes head side-to-side.
    To paraphrase GW Bush: ‘Our enemies never stop thinking about new ways to destroy our country, and neither do we’.

    1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      “Maybe the real weapons of mass destruction were the friends we made along the way” GWB

      You now, the more of his quotes I read the more he sounds like Biden.

      1. avatar Merle 0 says:

        And then there’s Rumsfeld’s known unknown knowns. I kinda miss that whole era though. It was pretty wild.

      2. avatar LifeSavor says:

        CP, great quote!
        I’ve been thinking the real reason the main stream Dems like Biden is because they will easily control him just as the back room Repubs controlled GWB.

  4. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

    Isn’t this the nature of the beast with “Instant NICS for anyone” that some folks want to see?

    1. avatar No one of consequence says:

      In part, yes. But a NICS-for-all could be call-in only.

      But with an app, add Google and Apple as additional entities that could potentially access the data as it goes by. Would you trust these companies with access to such?

      Then again, do you keep pictures of your guns, maybe an ammo inventory, or copies of your user manuals on your phone or online?

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        That “call-in only” voice traffic is, more often than not, carried over a data network.

      2. avatar MarkPA says:

        My take on what I’ve read is that you enter the buyer’s (transferee’s) name, birth-date and address and that’s about it. SS# is optional on the 4473 so I imagine it would be optional here. Under this supposition (and it is NO more than that):

        1. anybody at all can enter the name, birthdate and address of anybody at all. Oh, let’s say, a father can run a NICS on his daughter’s new date. If NICS comes back DENY, well, then he can exercise his parental rights and DENY. All at the taxpayer’s expense.
        2. there seems to be no 4473 form involved. No trip to the FFL. No record of make+model+serial.
        3. Assuming a PROCEED response, NICS is required by law to erase the record of the inquiry within one day.

        In view of the foregoing, I take it that all the Democrats will vote against it in both chambers. All Republicans could feel free to vote for it.

        Could we, the PotG live with that outcome? I think so.

        1. avatar Mad Max says:

          Agree.

          And if anyone thinks that the government and big tech don’t know who the firearms owners are, they are mistaken.

          The easiest way to use an app would be to use the QR code on the back of a state-issued photo ID (typically a driver’s license) to identify the person. With Real ID, the photo will be in a Federal database, allowing the seller to verify the person’s identification.

          Just as long as anyone can use the app and NICS and no firearm(s) information is entered, it will work.

        2. avatar Ing says:

          If it worked that way, I’d be for it. I hate background checks as a matter of principle, but I realize that most people don’t; they’re here to stay.

          So let’s get rid of the worst aspect of it — the onerous form 4473, which is de facto gun registration — and make universal background checks a reality by letting EVERYONE do it for themselves. Everybody gets something. We get to kill the control/left’s dreams of registration leading to confiscation, they get the UBC requirement they’re always telling us they want.

          That’s a BIG if, though. You know our government is going to figure out a way to “fix” the problem by making it even worse. It’s just what they do.

        3. avatar D.T.O.M. says:

          Mark writes “Could we, the PotG live with that outcome? I think so.”

          Get used to asking yourself that question. Pretend that you are “DOING SOMETHING”.

          This will not stop a crime nor will it satiate the leftist calls for more gun control.

          This is simply giving them another step to their endgame.

          The leftist win another battle moving forward gaining ground, we lose another battle moving backwards losing territory.

        4. avatar Benjamin McLeod says:

          NICS does erase the transaction, as far as I know. But NICS also accesses multiple other databases, passing to each of them the information that Joe Blow is asking for gun purchase approval, and these other databases probably keep these access records forever.

        5. avatar Benjamin McLeod says:

          Combine this with a “red flag” law. Now you will have every anti-gun snoop checking on all his neighbors, and as soon as he gets a “deny” result, calling the cops to storm that neighbor’s house. Even if said neighbor does not actually even own a gun, the snoop doesn’t know that!

          Any such system needs a limit, with enforcement provision, that it can be used only for gun sales and with the permission of the purchaser. Not that it will solve any problem even so.

          No universal check system can succeed without a matching gun registry, else what would keep someone from selling a gun without a check? I am forever against any such registry, it is only a weapon to use against gun owners for partial and eventual universal confiscation.

        6. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “No universal check system can succeed…”

          Full stop; end of story.

        7. avatar Chip in Florida says:

          @Mad Max…. “…And if anyone thinks that the government and big tech don’t know who the firearms owners are, they are mistaken.”

          They have all the information, sure. But what they *don’t* have is all the information in one easily searched database.

      3. avatar Steve says:

        Potentially? They will! Google tracks everything! ALL that data WILL Be Accessible to The powers that be!
        NO WAY I’ll accept an APP for that!

    2. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Yup, and of course the underlying database, now open to the public, would be un-hackable…cough, cough.

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        The database can be a read-only file that is an image of, and is isolated from, the real database.

      2. avatar LifeSavor says:

        How would that protect the data? The image of the data is all someone needs to steal or surreptitiously access.

        1. avatar Mad Max says:

          The database contains the identities of prohibited persons. It’s just a list.

          Every day, a new file can be created from the real database, transferred to the NICS server and written over the the existing file, adding and removing identities as needed.

          If a hacker alters the database, it will be fixed with the next overwrite.

          It would take a sophisticated and clever bad guy to alter the database for the day just so they can buy a gun (or prevent somebody else from buying one).

      3. avatar Some dude says:

        Am I wrong that NICS (is supposed to) only includes those individuals adjudicated to be inelligible? Rejection is based on their inclusion in the data base, all others not listed are green lighted?

  5. avatar LifeSavor says:

    Maybe, if you pass the phone-based NICS you can have Uber or Lyft deliver your new firearm!

  6. avatar Raz-0 says:

    As long as it’s actually a web app and doesn’t have to be tied to a phone, rkba activist types could kill it as a registry.

    Some enterprising activists would just have to score one of the data dumps from a big data breech with tons of names and ssns, and distribute a tool that just fills out the background check with that data. The from would be gun owners, but the two would be whoever.

    Introduce a ton of false positives.

    I’d they ever come looking, you are either going into shout then in the face mode or you have hidden your stuff. If they ask, you tell them Bob bought it. Bob says he didn’t, you say bonds a liar. Bob says you are a liar. The registry says you both are liars. The process becomes a quagmire.

    Not that you couldn’t put together a decent guess at gun owners from credit card company data and other sources. If the junk mail companies could figure out I bought my first gun within a week of buying it, I’m pretty sure avoiding a registry of who is out of the question already.

    Nics is a puss poor registry of what.

    I’m sure employer who have been unhappy with the ban the box campaigns will be happy to have a free, publicly accessible felon check.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      NICS isn’t a registry of much other than DENY responses.

      Let’s suppose the FBI is cheating; not that any of us could imagine the FBI doing anything illegal. To what extent are they cheating? Do they have a 100.0% complete record of all NICS inquiries from the outset? 90%; 80%; 70% . . . ? If they have all/most then all they have is a list of names and addresses of retail gun buyers and types (handgun/long-gun/receiver). No make+model+serial. No record of the disposition; lots of boating accidents.

      NICS is not the “registry” to be feared. Rather, it’s the FFL archives of 4473 forms. We are failing to pay any attention to that.

      Those 4473 forms have to be archived for 20 years. That’s a long time. When an FFL goes out of business it sends its archives to the ATF for perpetual storage.

      There are two problems here. First, how many FFLs don’t survive in business for 20 years? A lot! Second, many very successful FFLs do survive in business for 20+ years. When do they purge their archives of <20-year 4473 forms? Never? After the records are 25 or 30 years old? Or, do they keep them forever? Until they close shop; whereupon, they ship the records (no matter how old) to the ATF?

      The FFL archives plus the ATF archives are getting dangerously close to being a poor national registry. The closer they get the greater the temptation for Congress to "nationalize" the records; i.e., compel the FFLs to "turn them all in boys". Then, the ATF could start a massive scanning effort to computerize the old ATF records and new FFL records. At such a juncture we would be pretty close to a national registry.

      One more shoe to drop. No more private transfers without a 4473. Even if "UBC" were implemented with an app or phone call available to the public, if the transferor had to mail in a 4473 form then – theoretically – the loop would close. Suddenly, ATF would be seeking lots of revenue to chase-down anomalies in the chain of transfers of a particular make+model+serial.

      Gun owners would be sat down in front of an ATF agent who would ask where he got a particular gun or to whom he transferred it. Any error or omission in his statement would be a felony. It's not that every lie would be prosecuted. They wouldn't have time for that. Just the threat of prosecution would inspire gun owners to denounce other gun owners.

      We PotG are all lathered up about background checks; we are ignoring the accumulating threat of 4473 forms.

      1. avatar LifeSavor says:

        MarkPA, Thank you for that explanation. Are you indicating that the reasons for deny responses are NOT in NICS? If true, then are those reasons in feeder systems?

        If so, it is no wonder there are so many anecdotes about the difficulty, time, and expense of challenging a NICS “Deny”.
        On the other hand, a central database containing all that info has it’s own dangers.

        It seems unlikely that we will get rid of NICS, but I do not like expanding or building upon it.

      2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        And THAT’S why I never bought another gun after the early ’90s, when CA started all the registration efforts. Everything I’ve accumulated since then have been through inheritance or 80% builds I’ve assembled myself. All before each respective deadlines due to the constantly evolving (read that to mean “loophole closures” per Sacramento) penal code here. Now I no longer accumulate.

        Nope. I have everything I’ve ever wanted now, and will not be buying anything in CA again. Or anywhere else, most likely.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          I Haz a Question,

          Have you used your credit cards to purchase any ammunition or firearm components (even 80% lower receivers)? If your answer is “yes”, then fedzilla almost certainly knows, at the very least, the nature of your purchase.

          Have you ever ordered ammunition or firearm components via telephone conversation or Internet website? If your answer is “yes”, then fedzilla almost certainly knows exactly what you ordered.

          Have you ever used the Internet to research your ammunition, firearms, or firearm components? If your answer is “yes”, then fedzilla almost certainly knows the nature of your firearm ownership.

          Unless you have purchased everything with cash in private face-to-face transactions and you have never used the Internet to research your ammunition or firearms, fedzilla almost certainly knows exactly what you have, or at least a very good idea of which firearm calibers/platforms you have. (Caveat: fedzilla probably does not know about any firearms or ammunition that you inherited and would not know about ammunition purchases with cash at retail locations.)

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          I Haz a Question,

          It is effectively impossible to prevent fedzilla from seeing what types of firearm calibers/platforms we own (and even which specific firearms we own in many cases).

          Thus, we might as well ensure that fedzilla understands how the massive scope of firearm ownership in our nation is the insurmountable bulwark against tyrannical aspirations that our Framers envisioned and intended.

          Oh, it is probably good to also provide a lot of incorrect information along the way for good measure. So hurry up and start heavy Internet research on firearm calibers/platforms that you do not have for the explicit purpose of convincing fedzilla that you actually do have them!

        3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          @Uncommon,

          Actually, I’ve purchased all ammo over my entire lifetime with cash face-to-face. And nearly all my 80% receivers were either the same (in person with cash from a retailer) or through a friend who bought for me and shipped to me after receiving them (not a straw purchase because they’re not firearms). Many components were bought over the Interwebz, yes, but some of those were gifts for others, so nobody would be able to reliably “piece together” guns from my online activity.

          And I save most of my searches for either my PC at work (different IP) or via a ToR connection.

          So while it’s very difficult to maintain a 100% invisible profile nowadays, my answer is that I *do* take steps to mask much of my activity. 🙂

  7. avatar IN Dave says:

    Everyone seems to be concerned about privacy with this idea but I don’t think that is an issue. The reason I say that is because we already perform many transactions with the same personal information. When we bought our last house we got a pre-approval letter from the bank which stated the amount we could borrow. It even had a QR code with a verification code. I scanned it and the website was from the bank just confirming the letter. Same for a loan for a car. Same is true when I transfer money to certain people. All they get is a confirmation code (which is not related to my account, ssn, birthdate, or address) which they enter on their end to complete the transaction.

    Does that mean I support this?? Hell no!!
    1. If I am selling a gun to someone I know nothing about then I already take it to my FFL and let him do it. But with the 4 guns that I have sold 3 of them went to people I have known for 15+ years. I know their record better than any database. I can even tell you the stuff they did that they didn’t get caught doing.
    2. This can be used to create a registry as soon as it starts.
    3. THE BIGGEST REASON OF ALL. The 2nd was created so you can shoot a tyrant in the face. Asking his/her permission first kind of defeats the purpose.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      The fourth amendment has been as badly mangled as the second,just No.

      1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        Yes, but to a lot of “conservatives” the 4th only protects criminals. So they don’t care when it is used for toilet paper in their drug war. “If you don’t have anything to hide, you won’t mind letting these cops search your car because one of them signaled his dog to alert. Drugs!!!!! For the childrenz!!!!!”

        1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

          Yes and the so called “conservatives” are as much to blame as Leftards in their willful violation of the Constitution.

    2. avatar LifeSavor says:

      IN Dave, I am thinking that in the current era of doxing, a hackable NICS registry creates great opportunity for our anti-2A terrorists. Your thoughts?

      1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        I could *easily* see that happening – Just imagine – The public has a ‘right to know’ who lives on their street has ‘evil guns’ and the make and model.

        Other Leftists will be pleased to know the grunt work will be done for them so their ‘rip crews’ can focus on what they enjoy doing…

  8. avatar Mack The Knife says:

    I don’t think the majority of folks commenting on the NICS have a clue of what it is, how it works and who the current users are. The problem with the 2A community is that we follow the norms of society. Very uninformed in fact, highly educated in BS and rhetoric. Senator Thunes also displaying his ignorance by not explaining his opinion.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Why do you say that most of us do not understand NICS?

  9. avatar barnbwt says:

    We should name the app “Mother, May I?”

    We can call its result a “social credit score” and assign a number to everyone; make it a criminal, credit, and medical background check as a one-stop shop. The gov has all that info anyway, why not make it more efficient?

    That way, you can trash-can resumes of people with bad credit or medical issues the way you can for criminal history, deny them credit, restrict their travel, flag them for random searches & detention, and quickly locate them if you ever come to the conclusion they are too dangerous to run around freely. Like if their political beliefs are too radical, for example, or they associate with terrorist groups to be named later.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Oh, and don’t forget, the FBI currently isn’t reviewing false-positive NICS check appeals these days, so if you’re flagged wrongly under the UBC type system, you just plain lose your rights to a bunch of things.

      Maybe we can use a phone app to vote for prezdint, too? Wouldn’t that be convenient?

      Fucking dumbass New Yorkers…

    2. avatar barnbwt says:

      One more thing; will this be the same app Trump was pitching the other day, that continually spies on users to look for signs of “mental distress” so they may be red-flagged automatically?

      Fucking dumbass New Yorkers…

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        Historically New York city hasn’t changed in the last 243 years,Tories then as now.

    3. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      “We should name the app “Mother, May I?”

      That or “With The Crowns Permission.”

      1. avatar Barnbwt says:

        “Welcome to Big Brother; I love you”

        The future is a mash-up of Idiocracy and 1984; the heel on your face will be that of a clown-shoe, but it will be there nonetheless.

        1. avatar tmm says:

          Big brother… or little sister?

    4. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Love this: “Mother, May I”.

      Spot-on with the rest of your post, Barnbwt.

  10. avatar DaveL says:

    I can see ways to make this work. The person being checked would first need to log on to the system and authenticate their identity somehow, perhaps like every do for e-filing taxes, and receive a unique authorization code good for a limited number of accesses for a time-limited period. They give this number to the person doing the check.

    The person doing the check enters this number together with a hash of that number, their SSN, DOB, and the serial number of the firearm being sold. The hash would be made with low enough entropy, say 3 digits, that it would be implausible to identify the buyer from it. The seller would never be identified in the system records, just the hash and the authorization number that’s tied to the buyer’s ID, nor would it indicate it the sale actually went through. The seller retains a record of the authorization number.

    Tracing a firearm would involve contracting the FFL to learn the identity of the first buyer, then the first buyer to determine the identity of the second buyer (via the authorization number) and so on. With the authorization number in hand, the feds can take the first buyer’s SSN, DOB, and the serial # and verify in their database that a check was run with a matching hash for that number. The same thing goes on down the chain. But without the private seller’s participation, the database only tells you that a person may have purchased some gun from someone. It produces even less information if people start using the system to run background checks for other purposes, such as employment, and I see no reason why such uses should be banned.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      While I’d like to give every private seller the option of running a background check the idea that it would be recorded in a database complete with serial number is beyond unacceptable to me.

      This is the problem, how do we protect the law abiding from the myriad ways a system could be abused and made corrupt, while also satisfying the need to block bad people getting guns? I’ve yet to hear odf an approach that doesn’t have major flaws in it.

      1. avatar Robert w says:

        One of the ways that I have identified to help this problem is to make the background check system available to everyone for any reason. This check system can have multiple levels of requests, and one of the levels just happens to be the level required for meeting a federal background check to purchase a firearm. No serial numbers may be required, no box to check that says this is for purchasing a firearm, could be for anything.

        Next step, this must be voluntary in a private sale, no check necessary, just like it is already, the incentive to use it would be this: Having record of this sucsessful background check of the buyer instantly protects you from any charges about selling to a prohibited person, and would have to have weight towards straw purchases and etc.

        Last, this can’t exist without a 100% revamp of SSN. There is no reason that SSN can’t be redone with intelligence to make it more difficult to steal and reuse. And without a secure SSN system, you can’t have a voluntary check system.

      2. avatar DaveL says:

        In the system I describe, the serial number wouldn’t be recorded. Neither would the identity of the seller. Only a low-entropy hash produced from that information would be recorded, for instance as a single 3-digit number. You can easily verify the hash knowing the seller, the serial, and the buyers authorization number, but there’s no way to extract the seller’s identity or serial number from the hash. Even if you brute-forced it, there just aren’t enough digits. You get literally millions of possible valid combinations for each 3-digit value.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          We may again be in a situation where “background check” has several meanings, leading to conflict of ideas. While not stated very often (I’ve never seen it), a “background check” is not just a skim of crime reporting. A “background check” includes a lengthy checklist of potentially incriminating questions. For anti-gunners, not putting a person in jeopardy of criminal sanction for lying about not being a prohibited person isn’t a real “background check”. Assuming perfect technology to do data searches, the lack of the questions found on the Form 4473 would be a deal-breaker for the 2A opponents. And then there would be the signature problem.

    2. avatar LifeSavor says:

      DaveL, technically, a good design. Still, data quality, data maintenance remain such serious issues that NICS just seems a bad idea. The, of course, there are the Constitutional issues with NICS: guilty until proven innocent, data errors cause denial of rights, expensive, time-consuming appeals equate to denial of rights.

      So, good tech design on your part, but I cannot support the underlying premise for NICS.

      1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        There’s a much simpler system. If you are a legally-prohibited person found in possession of a firearm, you should be facing, and serving prison time.

        Free up prison cells by releasing the low-level drug offenders…

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Free up prison cells by releasing the low-level drug offenders…”

          The phrase “low-level drug offenders” needs an unequivocal, unchanging, clear and universally accepted definition. It is not what it seems, on the surface.

        2. avatar rt66paul says:

          “Prison cells” denote felony punishment. Low level offenders are users and usually mean misdemeanors. Those “low level” offenders are usually doing county time or are in a civil commitment program.
          Maybe you meant “low level offenders” as those that sell drugs and received state or federal time for it. Or maybe you meant those that used firearms in their felonies and plea bargained their way out. I don’t know about your state, but here most people get off with “time served” or get a token couple of weeks in county or a city jail. The state prisons are already full to the brim with the “worst of the worse” mostly violent criminals.

  11. avatar GunnyGene says:

    “Government is not the solution. Government is the problem”. Remember that statement by Reagan?

    1. avatar enuf says:

      I liked Ronald Reagan a lot. Volunteered on his campaign, was there at his close of campaign rally in San Diego, Monday November 3, 1980. Remember this scene:

      I was standing not ten feet from the commotion Reagan was saying “Shut up” about. It wasn’t a heckler. It was a man with an Equal Rights Amendment sign, dressed up as Abe Lincoln. A group of women anti-ERA activists had surrounded him and the moment he lifted up his sign they pounced. They ganged up, beat him and pounded and kicked him down. He wasn’t heckling he was yelling for help. After the rally I found his paper stove pipe hat, Saved it for a few years, eventually lost it in a move.

      That’s minor, but Reagan was not always right.

      Far more important was how angry some of us registered, card carrying Republicans were at Reagan when he hit us with the largest tax increase in history. Exactly the opposite of what he promised.

      After Reagan left office he spoke in favor of the Brady Bil, a major loss for gun rights. He also was on the side of repealing the 22nd Amendment limit of President’s serving more than two terms.

      I liked Reagan but he was far from perfect.

  12. avatar Jim Wildrick Jr says:

    For the reasons stated I wouldn’t get the app.I am okay with filling out the 4473 for for gun purchase.If I ever sell one of my firearms the person buying would have to undergo a background check and I would insist on copies of transaction.

  13. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Just a guess, but to have access NICS, you need an FFL(1,2,7), this “app” isn’t for the everyday “joe” to use…That being said, there is a HUGE potential for abuse…

    As far as it being a “gateway” to some sort of registry, that’s just paranoia, when an FFL calls in to NICS they don’t disclose any of the firearm information, the only thing NICS does is do a background check to see whether you’re valid to purchase a firearm from that dealer…The firearm information stays on the 4473, and that stays with the dealer until the dealer gives up his/her FFL…

    1. avatar Mike V says:

      Or when the ATF knocks on your door demanding your files so they may go about the business of confiscating the “weapons of war.” Perhaps said dealer has had a most unfortunate fire that tragically destroyed all those files. The bigger “sporting goods” operations would likely immediately comply, yes sir…the smaller gun shops and individual FFLs, hopefully have contingencies.

      1. avatar WI Patriot says:

        The ATF can come “knocking on my door” all they want, they’ll find nothing, and I don’t have to keep any records as firearms bought and sold, or lost, or…

        Furthermore, the BATFE cannot just go busting in on an FFL and “demand” 4473’s, by law, they have to give a 24hr notice before they can come and inspect your files…and even then, without any warrant, they can only do a compliance check, making sure all your ducks are in a row…

        1. avatar Mike V says:

          Provided the law doesn’t change. I would imagine the law requiring users to “sell” their guns to the government would also include the nessecary provisions to access those files.
          The information exists. If they create a law that’s as bad as “turn them in”, they’ll find a way to see your papers.

  14. avatar TexTed says:

    Why in the HELL do they need the serial number of the firearm, to perform a “background check”?

    A background check ostensibly says “yes” or “no”.

    If it says “yes” then I can sell to him. If it says “no” then I don’t.

    The serial number is there ONLY to create a registry. That is its only purpose. So let’s demand that background checks be about BACKGROUND CHECKS. As soon as we raise that, they will drop the whole issue. They won’t constantly harp about background checks if they will never get what they really want, which is a national registry.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Exactly. There is no way in hell the government should have a record of a gun buy right down to the serial number. Even form 4473’s and FFL bound books, which go to an ATF warehouse when the FFL business is closed, that is too damned close to a registry for my liking.

      If someone can come up with a way to give private sellers the option (not a requirement) of running a background check that does not compromise privacy or create a registry, I’m open to hearing about it.

      Until then, no thank you very much.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        I’ve read the (rather short) article above three times, and I’m not seeing any mention of serial numbers being part of the app. It only mentions background checks, yet everyone here is getting riled up over additional things not mentioned in the article. Am I missing something?

        1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

          The simply ‘failed to mention it’…

      2. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        “If someone can come up with a way to give private sellers the option (not a requirement) of running a background check that does not compromise privacy or create a registry, I’m open to hearing about it.”

        *Exactly*.

        We need to call their bluff on this. Challenge them – Create a background check that does not tie a specific gun (via its serial number) to a specific gun owner and I will likely support that.

        They will *never* agree to that, since a registry is needed for the eventual confiscation they are planning for.

        Something else we need to do – Demand they explain *exactly* why they need ‘universal background checks’ on every sale or transfer, when nearly *every* mass shooter had passed those checks.

        They are very insistent on needing that, *why*?

    2. avatar Andrew lias says:

      I agree. The illinois system oddly gets that part right you check the person not the gun. Sure they will “fix” it at some point.

      1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        “The illinois system oddly gets that part right you check the person not the gun.”

        Exactly. Remove the gun itself from the equation. Are you a prohibited person trying to acquire (or have already acquired) a gun?

        You need to explain yourself to a judge in court…

    3. avatar rt66paul says:

      Which is also the reason for serial numbers on guns.

  15. avatar Geoff says:

    Just how would it work without changing the Law that established NICS? NICS requires the FFL number to conduct a background check.

      1. avatar Biatec says:

        It would be a new law stacked on top of that. It would be a new database or the new law would give access to the old one. I’ve never seen them remove something like that or care if it violates a law.

        We would have all the old stuff stacked on top of new stuff. Just my guess based on how they usually do things in government.

  16. avatar Biatec says:

    You know what annoys me about things like this. Ignoring all the privacy violations, the issues around people abusing it or hacking it.

    If it was immune to all that stuff it still would not be done in a way that would be less burdensome. People would still need an ffl to run a gun store, it wouldn’t mean you could get it shipped to your house, The government would never allow it to have any benefits.

    if it was a compromise it would mean getting rid of the ffl system and allowing people to have it shipped to their house. It’s giving ground though and just meaning putting more invasions of privacy on people and burdens.

    It’s never a good thing. You can’t stop bad people from doing bad things. You just burden the law abiding.

  17. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “And that no one might buy or sell, save they that had the mark,…”

    I don’t know, just something I heard long time ago.

  18. avatar former water walker says:

    NO. Hell no! We have all this bs in place already. Especially in ILL-inois. FOID. UBC where you call the state po-leece idiot’s(the same dipshites who can’t catch speeders on I-80)to confirm your close friend or brother can buy yer gat. The whole world wondered after the BEAST😫

  19. avatar Sneaky White 13 says:

    Smart phone apps, all of them that we use, knowingly or not, exposes our digital asses to all the WRONG PEOPLE, that if they want, can show up when THEY decide to SWAT you and yours. We (nearly) all, have been sucked into the digital morass. Take the recent ATN ATF demands to come foreward, so they can figure who sent ATN to the taliban.
    Two recent digital fugitives, have exposed the bastards manipulating our voluntarily and involuntary surrender of our digital 5Ws. We are the fools in eating “easy corn” under a tree stand….
    Two links if you dare:
    https://youtu.be/cZzJIudDGHI
    Cultstate.com

    So, think 3x before we post our “arsenal” pics. Unless you use “double” encrypted messaging, even then, I’m sure the clowns in America and the no such agency can get them if you are on their radar.

  20. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    If you are going to have universal background checks, then individuals should have access to the system and it should be very cheap or free.
    What happens if the person fails? Anyone get notified? Any arrest or prosecution?
    Or maybe they could make the checks available at all FFLs…all DMVs…all county clerks offices…maybe even libraries.
    Sounds good in theory, but criminals will do what they already do…steal them or have clean family/friends buy for them (already a crime that rarely gets prosecuted)
    mandatory buybacks? no way
    red flag laws? maybe with oversight…otherwise too easy to use as revenge

    1. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

      “What happens if the person fails? Anyone get notified? Any arrest or prosecution?”

      You get it. At the least, an arrest should be made, and the person dragged into court.

      I can envision someone having forgotten or was unaware they were a prohibited person. In that case, standing in front of a judge who tells them they are prohibited, and had better not be in front of a judge again on that charge, can’t claim they weren’t warned in the future.

      I would rather see a world where a prohibited person thinks twice before possessing a weapon in the first place. And I could see a need for people considered prohibited being able to posses a weapon like a shotgun, for protecting home and hearth…

  21. avatar tsandl says:

    I set the alarm off at my local Meijer a while back. I had gone through the self check out, popped my credit card into the reader, and forgot to hit the “OK” button. I had nothing in my cart but milk and fresh produce, nothing with an RFID tracker. The sensor detected my credit card moving through the door before I had finished paying. Now I’m glad it alerted me–I would hate to have inadvertently stolen–but it was disconcerting to realize that they’re tracking my movements with my credit cards.

    My point is, the government is already capable of finding gun owners. Even if you bought all your guns with cash in private sales, unless you always do the same for all your ammo and supplies, and you never mention anything gun related on social media, email, or news comments like this one, they can figure out you’re a gun owner. The data is there. By law they’re not allowed to use it as a gun registry, but that will immediately go by the wayside if gun confiscation is authorized.

    For my part, I’m happy to let the government know I own guns, including some that they would class as assault weapons. But I also want them to know that I would rather die than be a slave, and I would rather see the country I love burn in the fires of civil war than see it become an enemy of freedom. And I am not alone.

  22. avatar Barnbwt says:

    Well clearly the anti’s have already won; so many here, probably even majority, can’t even conceive of buying/selling guns without involving the government.

    So screw it, might as well register guns and gun owners, because we 1) don’t trust each other, and 2) can’t mind our own damn business. Guns are a privilege; it’s over.

  23. avatar AppThisMF says:

    As founder of The Church of Anologous Truth all contact with the digital side violates my spiritual existence.
    I can not use apps or communicate using digital technology. Well, with the exception of TTAG, ordering food and a very few, select porn sites.

  24. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    I may be a bit old fashioned but I think WiFi is idiocy and that any wireless apt is dangerous. And I assume that every site I visit and every browser I use is collecting information about me and probably selling so if I have something really important to transmit, SNAIL MAIL!!! Oh, and no cameras on my monitors.

    1. avatar Mad Max says:

      The government and big tech already know who all the gun owners are but they don’t necessarily know what guns you own. Especially those purchased without a background check.

      If the app gets used for background checks that are not related to firearms also, it would not be useful to track guns.

  25. avatar Hannibal says:

    There are ways that we could make the NICs system better but I’m not sure how this would help.

  26. avatar jbob says:

    Yeah because newspapers haven’t already published interactive maps of where all the gun owners in places like NY live.

  27. avatar Shire-man says:

    If anyone can run NICS at home does this mean no moire need for an FFL? Checking NICS is essentially all they do. Order from Classic, Atlantic or Buds, run digi-NICS at checkout and ship to door. If not then they don’t actually believe in their little app or NICS, do they.

  28. avatar Mad Max says:

    If we had access directly to NICS with a phone app we could avoid a registry by using the app for things other than firearms.

    Going to hire a new employee? Run a NICS check.

    Hiring a contractor? Run a NICS check.

    Babysitter; NICS check….

    It could work just fine.

    1. avatar Mad Max says:

      Also, I’m assuming the firearm(s) information is not entered into NICS but held privately by the buyer and seller (bill of sale).

      1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

        No. Make it a blind system. No fire arms information is collected at all and data must be deleted from the background check after 1 year. All records.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “…data must be deleted from the background check after 1 year.”

          What is the purpose of waiting a year?

        2. avatar Mad Max says:

          I meant that the firearm(s) data will not be in NICS, the app, or sent to the government at all.

          The buyer and seller would make up their own private bill of sale with the firearms information and the date and time of the transfer.

          The NICS check confirmation would be printed out and attached to the seller’s bill of sale as proof of due diligence in verifying the buyer is not a prohibited person.

          The government would not know why the NICS check was performed and no nothing of any firearms involved.

          The identity of the seller associated with any given firearm could be already existing in any number of private, state, local, and Federal databases as well as on old 4473s. If the transferred firearm is recovered at a crime scene, when it’s traced back to the seller, the bill of sale and background check confirmation will be prima facie evidence that the seller followed the law.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Understand what you are saying, but why archive the transaction at all? Do everything in memory, maintain nothing, not even the IPs involved.

  29. avatar Chris Brown says:

    Will it work on my flip phone….

  30. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

    This sounds harmless to me. This is what we’ve actually been asking for. Access to NICs but making it voluntary. Also can they please allow us to check to see if a gun is stolen by serial number ? That would be great.

  31. avatar Warlocc says:

    There’s ways they could make this work pretty well. And if they did, one or both sides of politics would have none of it.

  32. avatar Gopher says:

    For all those worried that this would create a “new” online NICS database that could be hacked, you might want to take a look at the below URL:

    https://www.nicsezcheckfbi.gov

    The NICS database is ALREADY accessible via the internet and this wouldn’t change that.

    Advantages of an online, free, and voluntary background check are as follows:

    1) it removes the disincentive to have to travel to a FFL to have the check performed
    2) it removes the financial disincentive to have the check performed
    3) this check (and the #4473) need not include ANY INFORMATION about the firearm being transferred; the background check is on the PERSON and it is irrelevant what firearm is being transferred

    This is a decent idea and one that I have been advocating for some time. No, it’s not perfect but most of the criticisms can be overcome.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “This is a decent idea and one that I have been advocating for some time. No, it’s not perfect but most of the criticisms can be overcome.”

      Not sure I am following you…
      1. NICS is a means of proving you are not guilty of something
      2. NICS has shown statistically near-zero for actually deterring illegal gun ownership
      3. NiCS has demonstrated that all but a dozen or so prohibited persons are not arrested and prosecuted
      4. NICS is a means of interfering with overwhelming numbers of persons not declared “prohibited” gun owners, causing people to pay a fee to exercise their right to a firearm
      5. NICS does, and can do nothing, about private sales between illegal gun owners
      6. NICS background checks between private individuals cannot prevent any two people from conducting illegal transfers because NICS cannot “observe” transfers between persons who do not conduct background checks

      The most NICS background checks can do is prevent an illegal transfer at the moment the check is initiated. NICS can do nothing about an illegal transfer after being rejected for a legal transfer (fail the check, do the transfer in the parking lot)

      Can you understand my confusion about expected benefits of allowing private individuals to do the NICS checks?

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        It is beneficial in tracing a firearm recovered at a crime scene and also assumes that law-abiding gun owners will run a check on a purchaser before completing the transaction (thereby not selling to someone who comes up a prohibited).

        If you have purchased a new firearm from an FFL, there is a 4473 form somewhere. If the Feds trace the firearm from the manufacturer through the distributor to your FFL, they will discover that you are the original purchaser.

        The ATF will show up at your door to investigate what you did with the firearm. If we have mandatory background checks and the transaction took place after the law became effective, you should have your private bill of sale and the NICS confirmation number to provide to the ATF.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          The idea that “tracing” firearms leads to solving crimes is Hollywood mythology. The best traces can do is find the original sale. Then the search turns up the fact that stolen guns overwhelmingly cannot be traced to the person doing the crime. There is no “tracing” benefit to NICS. Even if only one crime is solved because of tracing….it is a fools bargain to force millions of legal gun owners through a process that has such poor utility in solving crime.

          “…assumes that law-abiding gun owners will run a check on a purchaser before completing the transaction (thereby not selling to someone who comes up a prohibited). ”

          How many sales by legal gun owners are made to prohibited persons simply because the seller did not know the buyer was prohibited? Unknowable, isn’t it? How many sales to prohibited persons conducted by legal gun owners were made because the legal gun owner didn’t even want to know the buyer is prohibited? Also unknowable. What you are falling for is the “gun show loophole” crapola, and the “anyone can buy a gun online without anyone knowing about it” line of “common sense gun control”.

          “If we have mandatory background checks and the transaction took place after the law became effective, you should have your private bill of sale and the NICS confirmation number to provide to the ATF.”

          How do you make “mandatory” that which cannot be monitored? People bent on breaking the law will not submit to “mandatory” processes, will they? If two people meet in the parking lot of a football stadium, and do a gun transfer, who makes sure the NICS check is conducted? Hmmm? What you are endorsing is the notion that law abiding people will follow the law to no purpose, while those evading the law are not identified, or identifiable. What sort of logic is that? I’ll tell you…It is the “we gotta do something so we can feel better” logic.

      2. avatar matt says:

        I hear you points, but there are tens of thousands (hundreds?) of denials a year. Many of those are overturned in the end and plenty of those are because someone has a conviction that got expunged years ago, or some minor crime the person did in their teens they didn’t think prohibited them. Some of those are people who have a mental health flag. Probably rare some straight up criminal who really should not be (as opposed can’t on a technicality) gets denied. Sure many of them are dumb, but even most of the guys with 3 priors know they can’t legally own a gun aren’t going to a dealer to buy one.

        We don’t know how many “good” denials there are. There are plenty of prohibited persons buying guns face-to-face. Most are stolen, second most common are straw purchases, I think the third are guys with no priors legally obtaining a gun and then later using it in a crime. Fourth I think is private purchase with no background check. Its a pretty distant 4th, but it happens some.

        IMHO, I’d rather know the person I am selling a gun to isn’t prohibited. But other than asking them to pinky swear and checking their ID that they live in my state, I’ve got nothing else to go on. Frankly doing an FFL transfer is a pain in the butt and adds a lot of cost. “Yes, please meet me at an FFL 45 minutes away from both of us, during their business hours when we are both working, and pay the $40 for the transfer there on my $150 old shotgun”.

        If it was as simple as they submit their info to NICS and can give me a confirmation number and their full name and I can get the okay from NICS on my phone (or computer, or call it in) that would make me fell better.

        As I said, it doesn’t keep me up at night so much that I do jump through all of the FFL hoops, because it is legal to sell long guns face-to-face in my state. It likely would not stem some giant tide of crime, but it might cut down on a few sales that shouldn’t have occurred. Some of them might have found a way to get a gun anyway, but a few of them might not. The guy in Texas who just drove around shooting people had a mental health flag in his NICS record, but bought his rifle through a private sale. And he seemed crazy enough he probably wasn’t going to be able to get a gun through a straw purchase or black market. Maybe he would have stolen one…but he might also have gotten has butt arrested and locked up trying (or not tried at all).

        UBS absolutely won’t stop everything and I think the way dems have proposed it is restrictive and odious. I do think there are ways to do it that tread lightly. If you are going to infringe on a right, it needs to be in the least restrictive way that accomplishes the same good (all rights have SOME restrictions/infringements on them. It just happens that the 2nd has the most and many of them are not accomplished narrowly).

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “IMHO, I’d rather know the person I am selling a gun to isn’t prohibited. ”

          Don’t sell to strangers? Or find an online retailer who also buys firearms from the public?

          From Oct 2017 NICS data:
          – 25.6 million firearm-related background checks processed
          – 181,000 (1%) were denied
          – ATF referred 13,000 for further investigation (0.000508%)
          – 50 were considered for prosecution
          – 12 actually prosecuted (10 awaiting trial in 2018)
          – Zero reported as convicted (but for this comment, 22 were treated as successful convictions)

          Result?
          – 25,600,000 applications were required to achieve 22 convictions. “Lie and try” is not a deterrent to attempts to illegally purchase a firearm.

          25,600,000 applications, 181,000 denials, 22 trials. Even the 181,000 denials cannot be considered a successful life-time assurance that none of the 181,000 were ever able to buy a firearm.

          You are quite happy to put legal gun owners through all this sturm and drang for 22 convictions? Or a 1% denial rate (which does not prevent further action to buy illegally)?

          If you are only concerned about your sale to a stranger, perhaps another look at the first question in my comment? Why should I be burdened by your concern? Why should millions of people be burdened by your concern about to whom you sell guns? We can’t really know how many private gun sales are conducted, but is it likely to be more than a minute fraction of the legal purchases through FFLs?

          The only effective impact of NICS checks is to frustrate millions under the notion, “If it only stops one….”

  33. avatar UpInArms says:

    My phone doesn’t run apps. I have no intentions of getting a phone that runs apps. The little POS flip-phone that I do have sits on my desk all the time, I don’t carry it around with me. Half the time the battery is dead.

    So, leave me out of this scheme.

  34. avatar JBOB says:

    One word, “REGISTRY”

  35. avatar matt says:

    Switzerland has a system like this. I don’t know about a phone app, but I’d be down with an online connected system where a private individual can submit their data to NICS and get their own proceed, denied or hold as well as a confirmation number. The seller can then input the person’s full name and the confirmation number and it’ll confirm the proceed, denied or hold. Make it mandatory to check a photo ID. That’s about the standard an FFL has for running a 4470. No registration there other than exactly what NICS might have now (and no sale record, just that the person had a check done). Also cuts down on impersonating someone to get an approved.

    If we ARE going down the path of UBC, then it is a huge inconvenience to have to run to the FFL sometimes your friend wants to borrow a rifle to gun hunting, or you are at an outfitter and your gun doesn’t work. Or you want to give or sell a gun to a buddy.

    I don’t want UBC at all, but there is little reason the system can’t be accessible to the general public to run their own check and then the seller can confirm that the check passed. If designed properly, there is little chance to leak data. On top of that, NICS data is cleared within days. Of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t secretly keeping the data, but UBC means you have to do the check anyway, it should at least be done in the least impactful and odious way possible.

  36. avatar Bruce Clark says:

    It always amazes me how “we the people” allow government intrusion into our lives. It all started with the simple dial phone everyone had in our houses. I mean it was a very simple device, it had a speaker to listen to and a microphone to speak into, what could go wrong with that? Then the advent of mass communication such as radio in the 1930’s and television in the late 1940’s. Still very primitive by their very nature but also a way for government propaganda and brainwashing to be spread directly into our homes, plus both could be used to listen in to the average home anytime someone wanted. Ahh then the dawn of the computer age with all the tiny cameras to every device you own. Ever notice the little pieces of tape strategically places along the top dead center of computer monitors in people’s houses, sorry folks that isn’t doing anything. That little camera is just something to catch your eye, it’s the whole screen of the monitor that will be used if the powers that be ever want to spy on “John Q Public”. Back then, they started requiring an IP address but today along with an IP address on any device, they all have multiple cameras and speakers along with GPS tracking so if need be they know exactly where you are at all times rain or shine. Again, what could go wrong? The only thing that is perplexing about this whole scenario is, we willingly allow it all to happen to us. And with some, not having it for even less than an hour is a catastrophe. They don’t know how to exist without it, and wonder how mankind made it this far along in evolution without it.

    1. avatar Warlocc says:

      “it’s the whole screen of the monitor that will be used” – Man wearing aluminum foil hat to protect against the lizard people, 2019

  37. avatar Join GOA,FPC,SAF says:

    Should we just go ahead and ban hands and feet cuz they are more of a Epidemic than rifles of all types including those scary guns? Is beto coming for ur hands & feet too.. when he sees this>??

    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8.xls

    I’d also point out at present a national registry is barred by law. 18 USC 926(a)& is explicitly illegal under the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986.

    In order to implement universal background checks, you have to create and maintain a database that would record every purchase and sale with the serial number of the firearm and the name and address of the buyer. That is the definition of a gun registry!

  38. avatar Kelly says:

    Why are you citing guns.com>? The managing editor, Daniel Terrill, is not a gun owner, according to a 2017 Chicago Tribune report.

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