What does it take to obtain a firearm?

Author: Rich Kolko
Published: Updated:
Person fires a gun. Photo via WINK News.
Person fires a gun. Photo via WINK News.

We now know that Zephen Xaver, 21, who is accused of gunning down five women in a SunTrust bank branch, bought a firearm just days before the attack.

Investigators are trying to figure out if it is the same gun they said Xaver used in the mass shooting.

Police records show Xaver had dreams of killing students in 2014 and reportedly went to a behavioral health center.

But, that is not disqualifying for getting a gun.

Visiting a psychiatrist or telling a friend you have violent tendencies is not enough to deny your right to purchase a firearm.

When a person buys a gun, he or she will have to fill out a form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The question will be asked is the following: “Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”

This means a court or other competent authority has deemed the person mentally defective or has committed him or her. It is not just voluntarily going to a mental health facility.

Who can be denied a gun?

There are several criteria for people who are denied the right to purchase a gun.

These can include a person currently indicted or that has been convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison; fugitives; those using or addicted to controlled substances, or convicted in the last year; dishonorable discharge from the military; convicted of domestic violence or subject of a protective order; and anyone found mentally defective.

There were more than 26 million hits on the National Criminal Background Check System, also known as NICS Checks, for guns in 2018.

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