For Publication, 410 Words
July 28, 1999
One-time North American Serial Rights
Copyright 1999 Alan Korwin
Not-for-profit circulation approved.
A review of FBI computer records reveals that the firearms industry has
been shut down for more than eight full business days, between Dec. 10
to June 15, due to the National Instant Background Check (NICS). The
four-page report, obtained last week by the National Association of
Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers, indicates that legitimate
businesses have endured federal closures 84 times in the six-month
"What other industry would tolerate such dramatic and constant damage to
its business?" asked Alan Korwin, author of Gun Laws of America, the
unabridged guide to federal law. "The most amazing aspect is the
absolute silence from the mainstream media," he says, "where a mere
5-hour outage at amazon.com makes national headlines." FBI figures show
that 23,000 Americans buy guns on an average day.
Required by Part 2 of the Brady law, NICS has decreased business hours
by 4.45% over the period, squeezing profit out of firms. At least two
full weekend days were lost this month, wiping out retail sales at gun
shows as well, bringing the total closures to more than ten days.
Additional outages at the state police level are not included in the
NICS-less GUN SALES?
Anticipating that NICS might be used to stop gun sales altogether,
Congress explicitly required its use only if it is running (18 USC
922(t)(5)). But gun dealers, fearful for their livelihood and licenses,
are understandably reluctant to risk relying on the law, at least not on
their own. The media would have a field day with it.
Doing business without NICS when it is down would almost certainly
attract the wrath of federal agents. "Though the law sure seems to
protect you, and that language was deliberately placed there during
drafting for this very reason, I have little doubt that the feds would
be, shall we say, displeased, at such challenge to their power," Korwin
says. "The fact that 't5' has a penalty for avoiding NICS -- but only
if it's running -- might not stop bureaucratic bullying or worse from
officials who openly violate other gun laws, such as the ban on
recording innocent gun buyers' names." Rumblings about a class-action
suit have been getting louder as dealers increasingly suffer at
NICS, touted as a tool to stop criminals from buying guns at retail, was
never overtly intended to stop gun sales altogether, but has so far
proven quite effective in doing so.
Alan Korwin is the author of seven best-selling books on gun law, including
"Gun Laws of America--Every Federal Gun Law on the Books, with Plain English
Summaries," and state gun guides for AZ, CA, FL, TX, VA. This paper is part
of an ongoing series, click Position Papers on our home page, or write or call
Alan Korwin, BLOOMFIELD PRESS
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