Who Did The Old Man Leave The Pawn Store To Firearms Background Checks in Tennessee, Not To Be Feared

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Firearms Background Checks in Tennessee, Not To Be Feared

Gun dealers, such as Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), handle hundreds of thousands of checks each year for their customers. It can be a way to get ideas from the buyer. You have decided to buy a gun. You have purchased. You’ve found the one that fits you and you’ve found the best price and the dealer you want to work with. You are ready to buy. Now comes the background check. If you are new to the process, some fear and uncertainty are not uncommon. What will be the result? Will you be able to purchase the gun that you feel is right for you, or will your careful selection process be in vain? It can be especially confusing if you’re trying to retrieve a gun you’ve had for a while, a family heirloom perhaps. Many gun and pawn shops have seen almost every transaction. Although difficulties do occur, this should not be a panic-filled process.

A little knowledge can help alleviate a lot of fear. First, let’s explain a little about what the background check process is. Background checks for gun purchases became national law with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, and on November 1, 1998 individual states were given the option of implementing a national system for this or establishing their own. In my state, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation started TICS, or the TBI Instant Checks System. The Tennessee State Legislature mandated that the system must meet or exceed the requirements established by The Brady Act. In addition to the check against the TBI documents, the TICS team runs a check against the NICS (National Instant Check System) on both the prospective purchaser and the gun they intend to purchase. This ensures that the person is legally able to purchase the gun and that there is no fault in the gun’s history, in terms of the guns they have owned in the past.

The details of running a check are simple. An FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee or gun dealer) collects ten dollars, and all of that is sent to the government for a check. The buyer enters their information on the TICS website, and the seller verifies that it is you through a photo provided by your government. Don’t forget to bring your license! Often in a very short order, the results backfire. In some cases, however, the check may take longer. Computers may slow down or run slowly. It’s usually a good idea to leave about 30 minutes before your local gun shop closes to start your background check so you have time to complete your purchase.

So that’s all well and good, but what about the results? All countries produce either ‘Approved’ or ‘Rejected’ results. Acceptance means that there was nothing in the check to support the transaction. A rejection means that something in the check came back that would prevent the purchase of the gun or the buyer. It is also important to note that this is a common occurrence. On average from 1999 to 2010, only about 2% of purchases were rejected due to background checks. If the denial is about the buyer’s credit history, the good news is that the results of the check can be appealed. It is important to remember that sometimes, mistakes, incompleteness or outdatedness can remain in public records even if they should be removed. Each of these can be for different reasons. Of those who were rejected and who appealed, more than half were rejected and the buyer was able to continue with their purchase. Just remember, if you think you’ve been denied and haven’t been denied, you can appeal, and your gun shop will have information on how to start your appeal.

In addition to ‘Approved’ and ‘Rejected’, several states, including Tennessee, sometimes return a ‘Conditional Proceed’ result. Basically what this means is that there was something behind the scenes, where the system could not solve the problem. The law states that the gun dealer can, ‘at their discretion’ release the gun to the buyer. This opens up a lot of potential issues with the sale, including the need to reclaim the gun with the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).

I really don’t like that Tennessee offers ‘Conditional Proceed’ results for several reasons. First the customer is paying for the solution; either yes or no, not uncertain. Second, it legally exposes the gun store to potential criminal liability. We live in a world where anyone can blame anyone for anything at any time, and often they do. An honest gun owner does not want the family of a criminal suing them because they made a ‘volitional’ decision to sell the gun to someone who used it to legally defend themselves against the criminal. It has happened to retailers before. I’m sure a smart shop owner would only pull the trigger on a customer who has submitted a background check with an ‘Acceptable’ result. Instead of selling a gun to someone of their own free will, the shop owner relies on the government to provide his discretion. Unfortunately the ‘Conditional Proceed’ results can lead to confusion and frustration if the dealer does not release the gun based on this questionable result. Among the gun dealers I know, I don’t know of a single one who would issue a ‘Conditional Proceed’. Just like the result of ‘Rejected’, ‘Conditional Proceed’ can be canceled through a similar process.

The important thing to remember when doing a background check when buying a gun is that it’s not about judging your worth as a person. He wants to make sure guns are sold to people who are legally allowed to buy them. Sometimes the systems used by the government are slow or inadequate in their details. If you believe you should be legally allowed to exercise your Second Amendment rights, but your background check says otherwise, there is a way to do it. Although it usually takes a few days or sometimes a few weeks for the results to be updated to reflect the correct results, all is not lost. Just follow the rules and be patient. So, remember to bring your driver’s license, leave about 30 minutes before the store closes for background checks, be patient and breathe hard. The owner or gun dealer is there to help you.

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