Liars Who Attempt to Get Gun Not Punished

Only 44 charged of 80K who fudged background-check forms in 2010

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2013 7:03 AM CST

(Newser) – Both sides are bracing themselves ahead of Joe Biden's expected delivery of gun-control recommendations to President Obama tomorrow, with the head honcho of the NRA yesterday declaring that any attempts to pass an assault weapons ban would be DOA. But the New York Times today takes a look at one potential measure that has support across the board: Going after those who "lie and try." As the Times explains, almost 80,000 people weren't issued a gun in 2010 because they lied about past criminal behavior on background check forms. But just 0.05% of these people—44, to be precise—were charged.

Increasing that ridiculously low level of prosecution is a gun-control move the White House is considering, in part because it wouldn't need to get Congress involved. Instead, it would simply push federal prosecutors to make these cases more of a priority. Convicting these liars isn't always easy though, explains a DOJ official, because "you have to prove that the person knew they were lying when they tried to purchase the firearm," and the resources needed to do so results in a maximum conviction that's typically only six months. A DOJ study found that 47% of the 80,000 had been convicted of a felony or faced such a charge; another 19% were fugitives.

In this Jan. 4, 2013, photo, a man fires a hand gun at Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range, in Sandy Springs, Ga.
In this Jan. 4, 2013, photo, a man fires a hand gun at Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range, in Sandy Springs, Ga.   (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
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