June 10, 2021
The New Hampshire House has just passed a new bill that would put the FBI solely in charge of handling background checks for handgun purchases, Associated Press reports. The move will entail the abolishment of the state “gun line,” as many deem it redundant.
The “gun line” has been the subject of scrutiny for a while due to its inefficient and slow operation, causing delays in handgun purchases. With the new bill, all handgun-related background checks will be conducted through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In this, New Hampshire will join 29 US states who are currently using this system exclusively.
According to the bill’s supporters, relying on the NICS will hasten the approval process. The “gun line” delays have harmed both gun buyers and sellers, as potential gun buyers have been complaining about the breach of their constitutional rights, while sellers have been forced to hold on to inventory, causing storage issues.
On the other hand, the bill’s opponents believe that criminal background checks should be kept in-state and that state police do a better job managing the gun purchase process.
Replacing and Repairing the Current System
Over the years, background checks have been used for both personal and professional purposes, prompting the launch of plenty of websites offering the service. However, the state or federal criminal background checks done for gun purchases can have more significant implications, so they are taken more seriously.
According to the law, sellers have to wait three days for a background check to be conducted on their potential buyers and the sale to be approved. However, if they receive no response after three business days, they automatically get permission to sell, no matter what the outcome of the background check.
Since the “gun line” has had significant issues with delays, this has been happening all too often, leaving the decision up to the gun sellers. Aware of the potential of background checks to prevent gun violence, many choose to wait for the results even though they are legally allowed to sell the weapon after the delay.
Over the years, there have been many unsuccessful efforts to repair this system, leaving no other choice but complete abolishment of the “gun line” and relying on the instant NICS checks.
With the help of the NICS, the criminal background checks will give timely results, making the gun-purchase process in New Hampshire easier and faster for both buyers and sellers.
The next step for the new bill is getting signed by Gov. Chris Sununu.