Gun laws have restrictions, but allow quick purchases for buyers who pass background check

FBI: average background check takes 2 minutes
Firearm for sale at 22THREE, a federally licensed firearms dealer in Lebanon, OH
Posted at 7:29 PM, May 25, 2022

LEBANON, Ohio — The gunman who shot and killed 19 students and two teachers Tuesday in a Texas elementary school legally purchased two semi-automatic rifles within eight days of his 18th birthday, according to law enforcement officials in Texas.

In the aftermath of the most recent school mass shooting, the WCPO 9 I-Team reviewed firearms laws and the process used to approve gun purchases made at federally-licensed firearms dealers.

Under federal law, many people without a criminal record, can walk into a gun store, show ID, fill out a form, get a background check and leave soon after that with a firearm.

According to an FBI video, the nationwide computerized background checks are "consistently providing users with an average response time of two minutes or less."

"By and large, the vast majority of people sail through the background check process," Wendy Monroe said.

Wendy Monroe, COO of 22THREE, a federally licensed firearms dealer in Lebanon, OH
Wendy Monroe, COO of 22THREE, a federally licensed firearms dealer in Lebanon, OH

Monroe, chief operating officer at 22THREE, a federally-licensed firearms dealer in Lebanon, said the background checks are a critical part of the process required for legally buying a firearm.

"The last thing we want to do is transfer a firearm to somebody who shouldn't have one," Monroe said.

You must be 18 to buy a long gun (shotgun, rifle, semi-automatic rifle) and 21 to buy a handgun. You're required to show a government-issued photo ID with your name, birth date and home address as well as complete a form that asks a series of questions about your background.

If you've been committed to a mental institution, have been convicted of certain crimes, are addicted to drugs or have been dishonorably discharged from the military, you are prohibited from purchasing and owning a firearm. It's a federal crime to lie on the form.

Monroe said most forms are approved quickly, but some are delayed for reasons that may not be clear. If the background checks are delayed for three consecutive weekdays, Monroe said the status on the buyer's form turns to 'open.'

"At that point in Ohio, it is legal to transfer the firearm to that individual," Monroe said. "I think one of the reasons is so they can't just sit on everyone's background checks."

There are some differences in state laws.

For example, Ohio and Kentucky don't require gun purchasers to get a nationwide background check to buy a firearm if they have a concealed carry license because they had to get a background check to get the license.

Indiana requires gun buyers to get the background check even if they have a concealed carry license, according to Monroe.

Monroe said if people want to buy an additional firearm the next day, they will be required to get another background check.

"Every day is a new day," said Monroe. "If you want to buy something tomorrow, I'm going to run another background check tomorrow."

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