July 27, 2021
The FBI is on its way to upgrade the criminal background checks system in an effort to prevent the sale of guns to underage and out-of-state purchasers, CNN Politics reports. The Justice Department’s inspector general found the system did not double-check the buyers’ age because not all states have the same requirements when it comes to owning a gun.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS) came under examination asked for by Colorado lawmakers. This was due to recent events when an 18-year-old girl bought a shotgun in Colorado, although her state of residence was Florida, a state that prohibits owning a gun until you are 21.
The report failed to identify the girl, but it allegedly refers to Sol Pais, who made threats against schools in Colorado and was obsessed with the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre. The NCIS system failed to identify that she was in fact a Florida resident. She bought a shotgun from one of the gun shops in Colorado and headed toward the Columbine High School. After a 24-hour manhunt, she was found dead from a shotgun wound she inflicted on herself.
Improving Criminal Background Checks in 2021
The report concludes, “To mitigate the risk of recurrence, we recommend the FBI strengthen controls over the sale of firearms to out-of-state purchasers by updating the NICS background check to verify age requirements of an out-of-state firearm purchaser in both the purchaser’s state of residence and the state of sale to ensure basic age eligibility”.
Thomas G. Seiler, a member of the FBI’s external audit and compliance section, responded that the FBI acknowledges the need to strengthen the control over out-of-state purchases, and that can only be done by updating the NCIS system.
With the number of gun sales rising, people turn to background check services to make sure they are safe when dealing with people around them, both at work and in their neighborhoods. Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that 40 million firearm background checks have already been conducted.
Also, two laws regarding firearm legislation were proposed this year – the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. The former deals with the expansion of background checks for all firearm sales and transfers, including those between private parties. The latter’s purpose is to strengthen background check procedures before the licensee (usually a dealer) can transfer their firearm to a person who doesn’t possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL).