Background Checks: What is Being Screened?

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There are many moving parts to owning a gun. 

From purchasing, to classes and even background checks, but, what do background checks actually look for? 

One perception with purchasing guns is that you can buy  from licensed retailers online and bypass the background check.

That’s simply not true. 

Any online gun purchase is transferred to a local shop where a background check is then completed. 

The required background is essentially a screening process.

It looks for felonies, cases of domestic abuse, mental illness and other crimes committed that have passed through the court system. 

“I think a lot of people feel like that you can just go into a gun store, buy a gun and walk out with it, which is obviously not the case,” says Steve Ellis. “There’s no question that when a person goes into a gun shop, they’re filling out a 4473 if they are buying a firearm.”

Background checks can take as little as 15 minutes to verify if a person is approved or not to make a purchase and sometimes as long as up to a week. 

“I think most gun stores usually charge about $20 to do the background check,” says Ellis. “That’s a small price to pay for the security and piece of mind of knowing this person or this individual is legal to own it.”

Most states do not require background checks for firearms purchased at gun shows from private individuals.

Federal law only requires licensed dealers to conduct checks.

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