FBI to audit state gun background checks

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DENVER - The Department of Justice's inspector general has ordered the FBI to audit some state gun background checks, after an inquiry from five members of Colorado's congressional delegation.

U.S. representatives, both Democrats and a Republican, voiced their concerns after a perceived school threat forced metro Denver schools to cancel classes for about half a million students in April 2019.

That incident involved Sol Pais, the 18-year-old Florida woman who was apparently infatuated with the Columbine massacre.

She flew to Denver, passed a Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check and bought a shotgun from a shop in Littleton.

That background check did not recognize that Pais would have failed a check in Florida because she was too young to buy a shotgun.

"What I’d like to see is a detailed explanation as to how this particular purchase was effectuated and how we make sure in the future, these types of purchases don’t happen," Rep. Joe Neguse, a Boulder Democrat, told FOX31.

It's not just Democrats who support audit.

Colorado Republican Rep. Scott Tipton does as well.

He sent FOX31 this statement regarding the audit:

“The inconsistencies with existing background check laws have proven to be problematic for both at-risk individuals and law-abiding citizens. Restricting Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights cannot be based on inconclusive evidence that gun control laws are always effective.  I believe that reducing  gun violence requires a more holistic approach, societal changes and not solely rushing to pass more gun control legislation. I appreciate the FBI’s response to our inquiry and I look forward to their ensuing report.”

Part of the audit will center around how different states conduct their firearms background checks.

Colorado, along with 12 other states, solely conducts point of contact (POC) background checks. This means the state is responsible for the background check.

In Colorado, the CBI conducts the check using both state and federal databases.

Other states use the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

"At the end of the day, the DOJ investigation and the audit of the POC system will ultimately give us some answers about what the system ought to look like and how we can currently improve it," Neguse said.

Currently, the CBI is conducting interviews to determine the role gun sellers can play in verifying other states' laws.

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