From time to time, a law-abiding citizen will find themselves denied on a NICS check. There are plenty of reasons this happens. Maybe a criminal has a similar name, or maybe one was using the law-abiding person’s identity when arrested. Whatever the reason, the individual in question has never been convicted of a crime or anything else that should bar them from purchasing a firearm, yet here they are. Denied.
That means they need to appeal the denial. They want that fixed, so they don’t have to deal with such a problem in the future. I don’t blame them.
However, it seems the FBI has been a little reluctant to do much of anything about it.
Now, a lawsuit is underway to try and force the Bureau’s hand on the matter.
“Today we filed suit against the Attorney General, USA and the FBI for more NICS denials,” Stamboulieh Law, PLLC, announced in a Tuesday press release. “After it was reported that the FBI stopped processing firearms denials in early 2016, we filed a FOIA [request] for that information. It was recently received.”
“[T]he Defendants and FBI in particular, is improperly shifting their burden to the individual to follow up with various courts or jurisdictions,” the release explains. In other words, a government with comparatively unlimited resources is discouraging citizens from contesting its mistakes and from claiming their right to keep and bear arms.
“This has been an ongoing issue with Defendants, the release documents, citing a District Court finding “that the defendant was improperly shifting the burden” and several prior cases filed in various federal courts since 2016, when a wrongly denied citizen had to retain a lawyer and go to court to obtain a reversal.
In those cases, “the government … ‘voluntarily’ provided the relief sought [which] essentially mooted those cases.” But they didn’t fix the underlying problem, meaning if a citizen has neither the knowledge nor the wherewithal and persistence to force the issue, the government’s default position is to deny rights and count on the injured parties accepting the injustice.
Honestly, this is nothing more than bureaucratic laziness, and I think we can all see it.
While no one wants to see guns in the hands of the wrong people, what we should also all agree on is that the government should protect people’s civil rights, and that’s not what’s happening. The FBI denies people’s rights by refusing to do any of the necessary work to correct any mistakes in its system.
The burden of proof for anything of the sort has always been on the government, and I can’t help but see this as anything but an extension of that responsibility.
It’s my hope that the FBI steps up and fixes its crap regarding NICS appeals quick, fast, and in a hurry. This should never be a problem. Ordinary Americans have a right to keep and bear arms, and it’s not the FBI’s or anyone else’s place to get in the way of that. Keep the bad guys as disarmed as possible is all fine and good, even if it is a fool’s errand. But when that crosses into the realm of impacting law-abiding citizens, we have a problem.