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What’s the Deal with Background Checks?

WHAT IS A BACKGROUND CHECK?

A background check is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records of an individual. What is found during this background check will determine if the person is able to purchase a gun or not. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a system in the United States for determining if a firearm’s buyer name and birth date match those of a person who is not eligible to buy. It was launched by the FBI in 1998.

WHO NEEDS A BACKGROUND CHECK?

Federal law requires that a background check is done on every single person who is buying a gun from a Licensed Firearms Dealer. Private sellers and “flea market sellers” are exempt from doing background checks. We encourage private sellers to do their transactions with us to make sure the sale is with a person legal to buy a firearm.

I have my Concealed Carry License. Do I still need to do a background check?

Yes. You still have to do another background check. In every state, whenever you buy a gun, you must do a background check. In Florida, having a Concealed Carry License allows you to avoid the 3 day wait on handguns when purchasing.

WHAT IS A 4473 AND WHY DO I HAVE TO FILL IT OUT?

A Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, is a form from the ATF that is filled out when a person purchases a firearm from a Licensed Firearms Dealer. This is what’s filled out to perform the Background Check.

HOW DO I FILL OUT A 4473?

Page 1, Section A asks for all the information about the purchaser.

Name, Address, Place of Birth, Height and Weight, Sex, Birth Date, Ethnicity, and Race. The rest of the page asks questions about the purchaser’s criminal record, citizenship, and health issues.

 

The purchaser will sign and date on page 2. Section B is completed by the seller.

Page 3 is to be completed by the Seller.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I PASS MY BACKGROUND CHECK?

There are three different ways the background check can come back. Approval (A), Conditional Non-Approval (CN), or Non-Approval (N). The Federal Firearms Dealer will use the 4473 the purchaser filled out to complete the form online or over the phone with The Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They need your Name, Birthdate, Sex, Place of Birth, and State of Residence.

Every transaction is assigned a Control Number once the background check is complete.

  • If the number comes back with an A (Approval) you have passed the background check. Congratulations!!
  • If it has a CN (Conditional Non-Approval), don’t worry, you haven’t failed. This just means that they are taking a little more time to look at your information. The state will issue a date on when they will have their response and at that point you just have to wait. If they change your Control Number from a CN to an A, you have passed. If it stays a CN it is up to the sellers discretion to release the firearm to you. Many Federal Firearms Dealers will not release the firearm as a safety measure. If they do release the firearm, they must let you know that if your background check changes to a N (Non-Approval) Law Enforcement will come to pick up the firearm.
  • If your background check comes back as N (Non-Approval) you have been denied the firearm and failed your background check. This doesn’t happen often because most people know if they can buy a gun or not. If you choose, you can fill out an Appeal Form and find out why you were denied.