Background Checks Catching Criminals Purchasing Guns

Instant background checks in Florida for a gun purchase were being run at the rate of 450 an hour on Monday morning. The checks, run by the Department of Law Enforcement, will come back or not approved, usually within ten minutes.

At a Tallahassee gun shop, four to five conditional non-approvals will come back every week.

"Conditional means we're not going to release the firearm for three more business days," said Stephen Shea.

This year alone, Florida will run more than 655,000 background checks.

"Will it stop somebody who's a convicted felon? Will it stop someone who has a prior arrest? Yes, it will," said Kevin Smith with Kevin’s Guns and Sporting Goods.

More than 2,000 background checks were run from these terminals in the last year; just four were rejected.

To buy a gun in Florida, you must be a Florida resident, 21 or older, have no felony or domestic violence convictions, and not have a mental illness.

Determining somebody’s mental state is the most difficult for sporting goods store owner Kevin Smith. "There's people that are nervous or uncomfortable looking at product and we sense something, we ask them to go home, come back the next day or a week later or we just sometimes refuse service to them. I mean just say no, we can't do it.”

Gun shows also present a problem. Individuals selling guns are not required to run background checks. Some call it a loophole. Others a second amendment right.

Background checks that come back with a conditional non approval are because the state wants more information or wants to investigate someone further, perhaps because of identity fraud. Most conditional non approvals are eventually given the okay to purchase a gun.


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