Over a million federal background checks on those seeking to buy a gun from a licensed dealer took longer than the allotted three business days in 2020 and 2021, according to NBC News.
The network noted that federal law allows licensed gun dealers to sell weapons after the third business day while the background checks are pending.
NBC News attributed its information to a 33-page, FBI report released last month. The news outlet said the delay in background checks potentially puts guns in the hands of those who can't legally own a weapon because of mental illness or criminal background.
About 25% of the delayed background checks ended up being completed. Those backgrounders revealed 11,564 people purchased guns in 2020 and 2021 that should not have been permitted to do so, the FBI report noted.
Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ended up having to retrieve the guns.
NBC News noted 734,604 background checks from Jan. 2020 through Nov. 2021 took longer than 88 days and were never completed. After 88 days, the FBI must stop its checks and purge the unfinished information.
Still, some dealers choose not to allow those seeking to purchase a gun without a completed check. In addition, some states have stronger requirements.
"Every gun sold without a completed background check poses a potential risk," said Rob Wilcox, federal legal director for the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. "And these staggering numbers show that we have a serious problem."
FiveThirtyEight said the FBI was asked last year why it didn't finish so many background checks.
In a statement, the FBI said it "depends on the availability of relevant information and records provided by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies." The bureau also said that it has "reallocated resources to help ensure that it can continue processing background checks efficiently."
After the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Congress had extended the time to complete background checks to 10 days for those gun buyers under 21, NBC News pointed out.
However, the new law mandates more extensive background checks for those under 21, which will take time. In addition, the law doesn't change the three-day deadline for those 21 and older.
The National Rifle Association opposed extending the timeline for people under 21, and raised concerns the new law "would be interpreted in a manner to prevent the lawful exercise of the Second Amendment right."
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