Millions of Fugitives Escape National Background Registry for Gun Purchases

Matt Vespa
By Matt Vespa | April 23, 2014 | 4:30 PM EDT

Background checks aren't catching millions of fugitives who could potentially buy firearms without raising any flags.  This could be seen as a major blow to Second Amendment supporters, but these cracks in the National Instant Background Check System aren't the fault of pro-gun laws; it's because the police aren't filing the names in the database (via USA Today):

Millions of fugitives can pass undetected through federal background checks and buy guns illegally because police departments across the country routinely fail to put their names into a national database that tracks people on the run from the law.

Those background checks, conducted by the FBI, are designed to block fugitives, felons, the mentally ill and others who might be violent from buying firearms. They automatically bar sales to anyone identified in federal records as having an outstanding arrest warrant, even if it is for a minor crime.

Brad Heath, USA Today's investigative reporter, noted in the highlight portion of the article that "police don't report them [fugitives] because they don't want to pursue suspects across state borders."

The gaps are largely a byproduct of the fact that police and prosecutors are often unwilling to spend the time or money to pursue fugitives across a state border. The FBI fugitive database is built to help police find people once they leave the state, and many agencies see no reason to include the names of fugitives they have no intention of pursuing.

The byproduct of this unwillingness on behalf of the criminal justice system has led to these border-jumping fugitives being responsible for a substantial share of violent crimes. Heath added, "in Washington, for example, one of every six people charged with murder was already wanted by the police for another crime."

While fugitives are always looking into the gun market, Heath noted that it's impossible to gauge how often criminals obtain guns as a result of paperwork not being filed by law enforcement.  Nevertheless, there could be as many as six million arrest warrants missing from FBI databases.

So, before Michael Bloomberg launches his campaign for more background checks, which is nothing more than an affront to the U.S. Constitution, law-abiding Americans, and deeply-entrenched American values; he should probably spend his $50 million dollars to get law enforcement's act together.

After all, he's trying to get the public to trust a law enforcement apparatus which has misplaced six million arrest warrants.