SARASOTA - You can buy them online, in stores, or even at trade shows -- and the Constitution guarantees your right to do so...if you meet certain criteria. So what is the process for purchasing a gun? And is that process enough to keep firearms out of the wrong hands?
We visited some gun shops in Sarasota Monday, and the process isn't all that difficult; you fill out a form, a background check is run, and assuming everything checks out, that new gun is yours to take home in three business days.
So where do you begin? First things first: what kind are you looking for? There are many choices. “Starting with just small target pistols and revolvers, all the way up to home defense, carry guns for concealed carry, or for home protection, from all different major manufacturers, both new and used,” says Alex Goulart, assistant manager at Buccaneer Pawn.
And no matter how big or small you want to go, there are a few questions that must be answered correctly before any transactions can take place. “The first thing you're going to do is fill out a standard 4473 government form. You do the filling it out, I look at it, if all the answers are correct, I can proceed with the sale,” says Francis Misantone, owner of The Bullet Hole.
Federal law requires that you fill out the form, and in order to purchase the gun, you can't have any felonies, assault charges, and you have to pass a federal background check. And in addition to the federal requirements, Goulart at Buccaneer Pawn says he takes it one step further. “We ask questions. One, we want to ask the person exactly why they want the firearm, so we can land them on the proper firearm. And then we also kind of feel out if they have any ill intent. We don't want to sell to someone who has bad plans for that weapon.”
But despite the forms and background check, Misantone says like with anything, there are problems and cracks in the system. But he says it comes down to being a responsible gun owner. “I really have not met too many bad people. I have people come in here constantly who buy that type of firearm who want it, and are afraid they may not get it later, but have no desire to hurt anyone.”
If you pass the federal background check, there is a three day waiting period before you can take a hand gun home. And the form and background check are the same, no matter what type of gun you're looking to purchase.