The Current Background Check System
Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers, people with severe mental illnesses, and other dangerous people from buying guns. Since its creation in 1998, the National Instant Background Check System has worked well where it has been required, resolving over 90 percent of checks instantaneously and blocking more than two million gun purchases by convicted criminals and other dangerous people.
Closing the Loopholes
Right now, gun sales are treated differently depending on where a gun is purchased. A person who buys a gun through a gun shop needs to pass a background check, but someone who buys a gun through an unlicensed seller, such as a private seller online, an auction, or a flea market, doesn’t. This loophole gives criminals an easy way to get a gun, and it makes it harder for law enforcement to enforce gun trafficking laws.
How Universal Background Checks Would Work
Requiring a background check for more gun sales in Vermont would be easy.
- When an unlicensed seller and buyer arrange to meet in person to complete a sale, which is required by law, they meet at a licensed dealer, instead of in a parking lot or in another public place.
- The dealer conducts the background check. The buyer completes the Form 4473, certifying that he is not a prohibited purchaser, and the dealer calls in the background check—just as he would if he were selling a firearm from his own inventory.
- As with current sales at licensed dealers, the dealer retains the Form 4473 as a basic sales receipt in its store records, and any government record of a successful background check is destroyed by the FBI within 24 hours.
- Dealers conduct background checks for private sales all over the country with 24% of licensed gun dealers in Vermont are already willing to conduct background checks for unlicensed sales according to GunBroker.com.
- In Vermont, getting to a dealer may be easier than getting to a post office. An estimated 99.96% of Vermont residents live within 10 miles of a gun dealer. There are 319 licensed gun dealers in Vermont, 1.2 times the number of post offices.
Expanded background check requirements would not include giving firearms as bona fide gifts to immediate family members, temporarily loaning firearms during hunting and sporting events, transferring a firearm as part of an inheritance, and temporarily transferring a firearm for immediate self-defense.
Click here if you're wondering, "Why Do We Need to Close the Loophole in Vermont's Background Check Laws?"