ALABAMA (WKRG)- Guns are in the hands of dangerous felons and a report says some Alabama sheriff’s played a part in putting them there.
The ATF, (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), says some Alabama sheriff’s offices never did background checks before giving felons pistol permits.
Since 2016, anyone trying to purchase a gun in Alabama could use their pistol permit to bypass a background check.
But this week, that’s changed. An old rule has been reinstated, forcing everyone to receive a background check before purchasing a firearm.
“Will it slow up the process? Sure,” said Jeff Stone, who owns ‘Stone Arms INC.” on Airport Boulevard. “I don’t think it’s going to affect our business. It’s a good thing because when they initially came out with this ruling in February 2016, the ATF gave the gun shops a choice whether or not they were going to run a background check or use the pistol permit in lieu of a background check.”
In a public safety advisory issued this week, the ATF claims some sheriff’s offices were not doing their job in running full background checks before issuing pistol permits.
Part of the advisory issued Monday says, “At least some of these permits were issued to felons and other federally prohibited persons who used them to purchase firearms from Alabama FFLs without a NICS check.”
It went on to say, “Because county sheriffs have issued CCP permits without completing a full NICS check, firearms have been transferred to felons and other prohibited individuals in violation of federal law, thereby creating a public safety concern.”
“I know we have not had that issue here in Mobile,” Captain Paul Burch with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office tells News 5.
Burch says the agency is sure to run full background checks before issuing permits. However, the permit itself has flaws since it lasts for several years.
“They may be issued a permit today. Four years from now, they commit a crime where they shouldn’t be carrying a gun but they still have that valid permit and can legally purchase guns with it,” said Burch.
The advisory from the ATF did not specify which counties are to blame.