Kentucky performs monthly background checks on concealed carry permit holders

Published: Dec. 13, 2015 at 7:19 PM EST
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KENTUCKY (WSAZ/WAVE) -- Kentucky is leading the nation for the amount of gun background checks on concealed carry permit holders.

According to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS), Kentucky performed 2,909,547 background checks between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 of 2015. That is nearly 1.5 million more than the second highest ranked state, California with 1,508,133 background checks and the third highest ranked, Texas with 1,332,475.

The number of background checks in Kentucky is also rising. The total for 2015 as of Nov. 30, 2.9 million, has already surpassed the number for the entire year of 2014: 2,492,184.

A NICS spokesperson told Louisville's NBC affiliate WAVE that Kentucky is reaching those numbers because it is one of few states in the country that performs background checks on concealed carry permits on a monthly basis.

WAVE's Natalia Martinez spoke to Barry Laws, the president of the American Firearms Retailers Association. He said he is in favor of a monthly scanning system.

"If someone gets involved in a felony for some reason, then they can't own a firearm, if they have domestic abuse they can't own a firearm," Laws said. "Unless you do these checks all the time, you wouldn't know."

However, Laws said he wonders if the system actually works. He worries nothing happens if, for example, a felon is denied a gun after a background check.

"There are missing pieces here and they really aren't talking to each other. So it's very frustrating," Laws said. "If we get a deny, I don't see a cruiser out in the parking lot in 15 minutes arresting the person who is a felon trying to buy a gun."

Kentucky law does not require a permit for owning a gun, though gun dealers are required to perform background checks at the point of sale.

In 2014 NICS denied nearly 91,000 transactions, according to their website. The number one reason? The applicant had committed a prior crime.

Kentucky State Police is responsible for maintaining the information of concealed carry permit holders and overseeing the testing process, a spokesperson explained to WAVE.

A representative with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, told WAVE they do have a system to investigate denied applications. He said it is up to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, though, to pursue any charges.

Gun dealers are required to complete a background check process in which they fill out a form and run it through the NICS check. The transaction can be approved, denied or delayed, according to the FBI.

If NICS delays the transaction, the applicant has to wait for an answer, but dealers are able to sell them a gun during the process. If the applicant is denied, it is up to the ATF to then retrieve the gun from that person.

According to the FBI, there are several reasons why a person would not be allowed to purchase a gun including having a felony conviction, indictment of a crime punishable by more than one year, a documented drug problem or a mental illness.