State rejects more gun purchase applications
Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:00 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — Background checks on gun buyers in Tennessee have produced what statistics show is a high rate of rejection in comparison to other states.
According to The Tennessean, U.S. Department of Justice records show 4.26 percent of applications to purchase guns were turned down statewide in 2010, based on criminal background checks. The national average was 1.47 percent.
More than half of those rejected in Tennessee eventually were allowed to buy guns.
Bob Armentrout said he has been frustrated by the background checks, which let him buy one firearm in 2009 but blocked him from buying a second weapon the very next day.
“I had bought a handgun the day before. It went through fine, no problem. The next day I went to buy a shotgun I had been looking at. It was rejected,” Armentrout said.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said the check system the agency uses is great for recording arrests, but sometimes doesn’t get updated with the outcome of those cases.
That was apparently what happened to Armentrout, who had an out-of-state felony fraud charge that ended up being dismissed. He eventually got both the shotgun he wanted and a .22-calber pistol, which was also initially denied.
Justice Department figures show 12,728 of Tennessee’s 298,832 permit applications were initially denied in 2010.
Gun dealer Curtis Dodson, who owns The Armory gun store in Lebanon, said the tardy reports on dismissed cases or those where the person was not convicted cost him customer goodwill.
“Not only is it frustrating, it’s embarrassing,” Dodson said. “That’s probably the biggest source of frustration. We may not get that customer back.”
Gun dealers charge a $10 background check fee, log onto the TBI system and see if the buyer is eligible. When the system rejects an application, there is no explanation of why. Sometimes, customers hold their rejection against the store.
Published in The WCP 4.2.13