Saturday, April 05, 2003

Wal-Mart stops all gun sales in California. This comes after nearly 500 violations of California law relating to the sale of weapons. In 2 of those cases firearms were sold to criminals, according to Jim Wasserman, the Associated Press reporter who wrote this story.

"In California, store employees released guns to customers before background checks were completed, Lockyer said, and failed to verify the identities of buyers through thumbprints and driver's licenses.
Other violations included failing to document sale of a firearms safety device with the gun."

Actually this is not as big a deal as it seems: federal law requires a background check. Instant is the term used to describe it, but that's debateable. If after 3 business days the FBI has not approved or disapproved an applicant then the store may sell the firearm to that individual. That was put in place so there would be incentive on the federal government's part to make the background checks quickly. When 3 days pass & a background check has not been denied, it's assumed that it was approved. So the problem isn't so much with Wal-Mart's employee violating the law as it is with California imposing even more burdens on gun buyers than the feds.
The two felons who purchased guns probably just slipped through the federal governments background check. So the fault is with the FBI not Wal-Mart or its employees. As to verifying identity through a drivers license & a thumb print, a drivers license or state I.D. is required to purchase any firearm anywhere in the U.S. It's part of the form you must fill out, No. 4473, & an integral part of the background check. So an employee would have had to not fill out the federal form, not conduct any calls to initiate a background check & not filled out the required paperwork. If that was the case then the employee should be terminated. However I find that unlikely & lacking any more details I assume that failing " verify the identities of buyers through thumbprints and driver's licenses" must be referring to a state law rather than a federal one. Personally though I'd promote any employee of mine who refused to thumbprint someone like they were a criminal just because they wanted to exercise a Right that involved a firearm.

As usual the story is too brief & has too many statements that need to be explored in depth for a solid understanding of what went on.

Wal-Mart started a policy last July in which they must have a yes or no from the instant background check in order to complete the sale. This goes beyond federal law although I wouldn't be surprised if it was part of state law in California & some other places. I try not to shop at Wal-Mart because I try to avoid products made in China. I don't like the idea that my money is going to support a communist government who abuses its people. & I'm not over Tiananmen Square nor will I be anytime soon. But this is still depressing as I do occassionally shop at Wal-Mart for firearm accesories & have had my eye on a deal or two in their gun racks. But if after 3 days a background check hasn't returned & they still refuse to sell to me, then I'll take my business elsewhere.

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