If you can't trust the police to follow the law, who can you trust?
It seems there's a bit of an issue with firearm purchases in Delaware. When an 81-year-old woman tried to buy a gun, the police delayed her purchase for 10 days to investigate it first, and required an interview with her and the dealer before allowing the transaction to proceed. As part of their investigation, they searched 7 years of firearms purchase records to see if she had ever purchased a firearm before.
There are lots of problems here:
The checks are supposed to only look for legally disabling criteria -- never age or sex.
If there is reason to delay a check, it's only supposed to be delayed for 3 days; after that the transaction is supposed to go through.
So far as I know, there's no provision for a law enforcement interview as part of the investigation; it's supposed to be just a background check.
The records of the check are supposed to be deleted after 60 days (local Delaware rules, apparantly; federal checks are supposed to be deleted after 24 hours).
The records of past checks aren't supposed to exist and therefore should never be used (even if they do exist through some accident).
As a software developer I know how important keeping logs can be to diagnose problems with the software. But for a sensitive application like this one, those logs need to be carefully protected while they exist and destroyed in accordance with the law. That someone was able to not only know that those logs exist, but casually check them to verify a purchaser's history of firearms transactions, is evidence of a dramatic failure in security.
This is the fundamental problem with background checks: the police cannot be trusted not to impose their own views of "who should have a gun" into the process, in open defiance of the laws, because there is no punishment for violating them. What is supposed to be a simple measure to prevent criminals from buying firearms has been implemented as a requirement to ask police permission for each purchase -- permission that can be arbitrarily delayed or denied with no consequences to the police for doing so.
Shouldn't this case draw a lawsuit for deprivation of civil rights under color of law?
This entry was published Wed Oct 29 11:21:27 CDT 2008 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2008-10-29 11:21:27.0.