(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Gun Control Law Creates De Facto Waiting Period for Some

When most of us go and buy a gun, the dealer conducts the NICS check in a matter of a few minutes, then we’re on our way.

Sometimes,  things don’t go smoothly and we have to wait for three days, at which point, we get our guns and go home.

Yet last summer’s new gun control law does something very different.

In a supposed effort to make sure those under 21 aren’t hiding something behind juvenile records, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act makes those particular parties subject to more intensive scrutiny.

And according to our friends over at The Truth About Guns, that results in a 10-day waiting period.

One of the many features of the BSCA gun control law is its “under 21 enhanced review process” for firearm purchases (long guns only, as federal law bans handgun sales to them). Here’s how Cornyn’s partner in crime legislation Chris Murphy describes that part of the law . . .

  • Requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement, for buyers under 21 years of age.
  • NICS will have up to three business days to conduct the initial enhanced search. If that search reveals a possible disqualifying record, NICS will have an extended window of no more than ten business days total to complete the investigation.
  • Provides additional funding to the FBI to administer new process checks in NICS and grants to help states upgrade criminal and mental health records therein.

That all sounds very nice, but what does that actually mean in the real world when an adult under 21 wants to buy a firearm?

It means a 10-day waiting period before they can take possession of their gun. Not just sometimes. Not just when the FBI turns up something questionable during the background check process. All the time.

Congratulations, Gun Nation — and Senator Cornyn, please step forward and take a bow — because thanks to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, we now have a de facto federal 10-day waiting period for gun sales to all adults aged 18 to 20 years old.

Wait, that can’t be right, can it?

Sure, the law allows for that, but it doesn’t dictate it, and the additional seven days is only if something pops up in the initial check that suggests there might be something more.

So clear, writer Dan Zimmerman is being a bit alarmist, right?


Well, not really. You see, Zimmerman didn’t just fly off the handle. He asked around.

TTAG has talked to a number of FFLs in states around the country. They tell us that every transaction for someone 18 to 20 years old is being delayed the initial three days. To be clear, that’s the same amount of time the FBI currently has to complete all NICS checks…but it rarely takes that long. The FFL usually gets an instant approval. Under the 1993 Brady law, if the NICS system doesn’t return an answer after three days, the retailer can choose to deliver the firearm anyway.

Under the BSCA, however, in addition to those three days, retailers tell us that every transfer for buyers under 21 is then extended for the additional seven business days the BSCA law now allows. Routinely. Every one of them.

To call that troubling is a bit of an understatement.

However, I can’t say that I’m actually surprised.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not clairvoyant and saw this coming. Based on how the law was written, I actually thought we’d see this from time to time, but not this much.

It’s just par for the course where gun control is involved.

Now, first, let me point out that making a few phone calls isn’t a scientific study. No one, including Zimmerman, is claiming otherwise. However, I don’t think it matters.

If you call a handful of FFL holders and ask them how this gun control law is going into effect and they tell you that literally everyone within this age group is getting the full 10 days, then there’s a problem because it’s statistically improbable that literally ever person between 18 and 21 has something in their initial NICS check that suggests a deeper background check is warranted.

Not at every store called.

So either all these FFL holders are lying and doing so in a semi-coordinated way or there’s soemthing very hinky going on.

And there’s no way all these stores are all telling the exact same lie.

So yeah, this is happening, and it’s a problem. It’s a huge problem, one that even if Congress tries to address, the Senate won’t actually pass and the president won’t sign.

For them, this is a feature, not a bug. They’re just bummed they couldn’t get 10 day waiting periods for all of us.

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