Gun Background Checks Working

Pawnshop owner Kevin Riley says his firearms sales are through the roof, despite a Justice Department report that gun sales dropped eleven percent between 1999 and 2000. "In this area I don't find that to be the case. My gun sales are extremely high at this time," Riley says.

Business is steady too at the D'Iberville gun shop Mike Creel manages. Creel says "It's just a national average overall. We're still doing' well here at the shop as far as sales go, people are still active."

Before Riley and Creel can sell anyone a firearm, they have to run a mandatory in-store background check to make sure the customer isn't a convicted felon. "Right now we've only shown 49 applicants out of over 33-hundred in the last two and a half years who have been denied and most of those are for minor felonies not major felonies," Riley says. Creel says, "As far as denials go in the last year and a half that this has been in place we've probably had a half dozen denials and I'm not so sure that they were totally denied because there is an appeal process you can use."

Creel and Riley agree background checks are needed to keep weapons out of the wrong hands, but Creel says gun shows and private sales from dealers provide other options for people who want a gun but can't pass the check. "People aren't gonna come down here and spend an hour or so taking out a firearm if they know they can't get it. I mean why waste your time to do it. Creel says that's why the number of background checks that are declined are so low; criminals are not the ones trying to buy firearms.