Written by Richard Dockery, May 9, 2020
In Florida, there is a layer of control between you and the Federal background check system when you purchase a firearm.
When purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer there is always a background check. Unlike other states, Florida background checks go through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) first, and if they pass FDLE they then go through NICS (national system). Other states do not have this additional layer and the check will go straight to NICS.
With a background check submission straight to NICS, there are a few possible outcomes:
– Conditional Non Approval
If someone gets a Conditional Non Approval that means a person needs to manually review the status, make a judgement call, and change the status to either approved or denied …within a 3 day period. If the reviewers fail to act in 3 days, the Dealer can release the gun to the individual. After the 3 days and the firearm is released, if the result of the manual check is a denial, the ATF will send someone to collect the gun from the buyer. This 3 day duty to perform is a protection guaranteeing your 2nd Amendment rights, if you are not a criminal….no administrative delays on your rights.
If there is a Denial from NICS, the dealer would provide a code to the attempted buyer so that an appeals process can be started. Often times a denial can happen for reasons that seem very small….example: I know of someone who dumped tires in the woods when he was 17. At age 50 he got denied, appealed, and learned that the old event triggered the denial. The denial was overturned. Another example: A guy had a fight with his brother (20somethings) on the front lawn. His wife called the police, both got taken in. No court but they were originally charged with assault. In his mid 40s he was denied, appealed, and when it was filed correctly he was clear to purchase. Not all denials are like this…some are legitimate criminal reasons…but …..many are.
Now with Florida. It used to be that the FDLE background check layer had the same 3 possible outcomes. When Parkland legislation took affect an additional outcome was added. “Conditional Non Approval” was removed and “Decision Pending” was added.
Decision pending is supposed to mean it wasn’t a clear check, and someone needs to manually review…like with the examples above. It is like a conditional non approval except there is no 3 day resolution period, or duty to perform. If you call FDLE no information is given, only that you are in “Decision Pending” status. So ….the check goes into pending indefinitely . I have seen this happen where it has taken 5 to 8 months before resolution, and each time the resolution was an Approval. This means there was no real reason to deny the buyer their rights…yet they did.
So what does this mean to a buyer and their rights?
It means they can be fully within their rights to own a weapon…but…they go into a period of indefinite time before they can exercise that right. If they are someone with a stalker, or they are being threatened, or things are happening in the area they live, they are denied protection unjustifiably.
So what is the impact on the bigger picture?
In essence we have a valve where, for whatever reason, gun purchases can be throttled for anyone in Florida, or for Florida in general, or for classes of people in general, etc. …it is an open door for abuse in a time where abuse of law is unfortunately all too common. With this “Valve”, All firearm purchases could be instantly shut down, or criteria could be added that would limit segments of the population from owning a firearm.
In reality it is an unnecessary layer, and a layer that is delaying citizens of Florida from exercising their rights…more so than even the worst of the gun control states.
Write your representatives and let them know you support a new bill to revoke the Parkland Legislation! If you don’t encourage it, they won’t create it!
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