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Report to the Attorney General on Systems for Identifying Felons Who Attempt to Purchase Firearms

NCJ Number
Date Published
127 pages
This report highlights the Task Force results of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 developments of systems for immediate and accurate identification of felons who attempt to purchase one or more firearms.
There are three key elements of a felon identification system: the definition of felon, the meaning of "immediate," and the level of accuracy required. The definition of felon includes those convicted of a crime who are punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, but excludes certain specified Federal or State offenses relating to the regulation of business practices, and any offense classified by the State as a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years. Two immediate systems are available. One involves on-site inquiries by gun dealers to determine eligibility at the time of purchase with response times of one to several minutes. A second involves a preapproval mechanism whereby a prospective gun purchaser would apply pre-purchase for documentation that would authorize him to purchase firearms; the documentation would be required for each subsequent purchase. Although no specific conclusions or recommendations are offered, the report reviews the various options available, such as placing the burden of proof on the purchaser, the seller, or State or Federal controls. Appendix.