Prosecuting false info on gun applications - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Prosecuting false info on gun applications

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been outspoken on the topic of gun reform.  He's made waves stating that in 2010 only 44 of the more than 15,000 cases in which a felon has lied to obtain a firearm have been prosecuted.  This leads people like Janet Belcher to wonder why new gun legislation is necessary.

"They got gun laws on the books now that they don't enforce," Belcher, a self-proclaimed Second Amendment supporter, said.  "What makes them think adding more gun laws is going to help?"

"We're protecting the rights of the second amendment, people like myself who are gun owners," West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said.

The most recent statistics from the United States Justice Department state that in 2010, 153,000 firearm transaction applications run through NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, were denied. 

"It asks if you're a felon or a drug addict," Chavela Simmons, owner of All In One gun and pawn shop lists the questions asked on ATF form 4473, the Firearms Transaction Record application.  "If someone would answer yes to this felony or anything, of course, it wouldn't go any further."

Which implies that the nearly 47,000 felons, who's gun applications made it past the gun seller's initial screen before it was denied through NICS in 2010, either made an honest mistake or provided false information, a felony.

Once a completed firearms transaction is run through NICS, it is then up to federal prosecutors to pursue any charges.

"I think they should be prosecuted," mother of two, Tawnya Harless said.  "I think they have background checks for a reason."

But US Attorney Booth Goodwin says that proving that the applicant intentionally provided false information is feat in itself and going after every instance just isn't practical.


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