BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (AP) — More gun sales than ever are slipping through the federal background check system — 186,000 last year, a rate of 512 gun sales a day, as states fail to consistently provide thorough, real-time updates on criminal and mental histories to the FBI.
At no time of year is this problem more urgent. This Friday opens the busiest season for gun purchases, when requests for background checks speed up to nearly two a second, testing the limits of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
The stakes are high: In the U.S., there are already nine guns for every 10 people, and someone is killed with a firearm every 16 minutes. Mass shootings are happening every few weeks.
“We have a perfect storm coming,” FBI manager Kimberly Del Greco told The Associated Press during a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the system.
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