The FBI fails to complete some 200,000 gun background checks annually because federal regulations require it to halt the process and delete the information if the check takes longer than 88 days, Roll Call reported Tuesday.
After the data is deleted, the FBI is uanble to know if these people bought weapons.
Although the FBI usually is able to give an immediate answer to a background check, about 11% of the time it is unable to do so, and then dealers are allowed to sell the weapon without the check after three business days.
If the FBI later determines the person is not allowed to buy a weapon before the 88-day deadline, it can have the gun confiscated.
This snafu in the system continues to happen even after an FBI internal report in 2015 showed such a scenario enabled a Charleston, South Carolina, mass shooting in which Dylann Roof murdered nine people, according to Roll Call.
Some of the families of those victims sued the government for the FBI's failure to prevent Roof from purchasing a gun despite a drug arrest that should have barred him from doing so.
Newly released information shows some ¾ of the time the FBI does not finish the process in three days, it fails to do so at all, due to a procedure to concentrate efforts on those checks that can be completed quickly, a situation that remains the same after the 2015 report.
"We have no way of knowing how many of those [cases] . . . resulted in the sale of a gun to someone who was a prohibited purchaser, but if even one did that is one too many," said Kris Brown, president of the gun control advocacy group Brady.
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