Tag Archives: NICS

About those “fugitives”

Anti-gun types are all upset now that they noticed the FBI was eliminating some folks with active warrants from the NICS database, making them eligible to purchase firearms.

Tens of thousands with outstanding warrants purged from background check database for gun purchases
Tens of thousands of people wanted by law enforcement officials have been removed this year from the FBI criminal background check database that prohibits fugitives from justice from buying guns.

The names were taken out after the FBI in February changed its legal interpretation of “fugitive from justice” to say it pertains only to wanted people who have crossed state lines.

Well… No. It isn’t so much as they changed the interpretation as that they noticed they weren’t in compliance with federal law. Again. (Kind of the inverse of the military not bothering to report felons.)

Allow me to explain, setting aside for the moment the unconstitutional prior restrain of preemptively-prove-your-innocence checks.

It appears from a search on US Code that to be a “fugitive” under 18 U.S. Code § 922, once has to have actively fled when a warrant is issued. The fact that a warrant was issued doesn’t make one a fugitive; or even necessarily aware of the warrant.

No flight, no fugitive.

I find it interesting, but not surprising, that gun controllers think people should be denied rights based on a mere warrant… when it’s Second Amendment rights. But not so much when it comes to other rights.

A federal court found it unconstitutional for for Michigan to deny welfare benefits to people with felony warrants unless they are actually fugitives.

So… same thing for 2nd Amendment rights. For once the DOJ did something half right (the other half being the whole prior restraint bit).

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“Fix NICS” right

In a bipartisan act of insanity, Senator Cornyn and cronies from boith sides of the aisle have come up with a wonderful plan to “Fix NICS.” Basically, it bribes states to report more people.

But there’s a “penalty,” too. Sort of. If an agency fails to report properly the politically appointed agency chief bunghole boffer doesn’t get a bonus (presupposing that bureaucrats should by default get bonuses).

If we must be saddled with a background check system that forces people to preemptively-prove-your-innocence (PPYI), a clear prior restraint, in order to exercise a constitutionally protected right, then let’s fix NICS properly.

Simply not giving a bonus to a political bureaucrat for a failure is not sufficient. Penalties must be imposed at the individual level:


1. Any individual who, through malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance, fails to properly report a prohibited person under 18 U.S. Code § 922 to the NICS databases shall be guilty of a felony; the penalty for which shall be a prison term of no more than five years and a fine of no more than $10,000 for each offense.

   a. In addition, if the failure results in a prohibited obtaining a firearm and using it in a crime, the individual shall be charged and tried as an accessory before the fact in the prohibited person’s crime.

   b. Should malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in supervision at any level be a contributing factor in the failure, all supervisors, up to and including appointed agency heads, shall be guilty of a felony; the penalty for which shall be a prison term of no more than five years and a fine of no more than $10,000 for each offense.

   c. “Sovereign immunity” shall not be a defense.

2. And individual who, through malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance, causes a person who is not prohibited under 18 U.S. Code § 922 to be denied or delayed the exercise of a constitutional right shall be charged under 18 U.S. Code § 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law.

   a. In addition, if the denial or delay of the right to a fiream results in injury or death, the individual responsible for the denial or delay shall be guilty of a felony the penalty for which shall be a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

   b. Should malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in supervision at any level be a contributing factor in the failure, all supervisors, up to and including appointed agency heads, shall be guilty of a felony the penalty for which shall be a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

   c. “Sovereign immunity” shall not be a defense.


Private citizens — licensed dealers, private sellers, would be buyers — all face criminal penalties for their errors that could allow a prohibited person to obtain and misuse a firearm. It’s time for bureaucrats to join the party.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar.

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