SayUncle covers a pretty disturbing story about a guy in Oregon who was fired from his government job because he was supposedly disgruntled, and bought some guns, which the police noticed. Uncle asks, “Seems they knew he bought guns from the background checks. He did not purchase multiple handguns in a week which makes me wonder how the police got this info.”
The answer is easy. Oregon is a Point-Of-Contact state for the NICS system, which means Oregon, like Pennsylvania and many other states, has its own system. While funding restrictions prevent the feds from storing information related to background checks, there is no such restriction on the state point-of-contact. The POC provision was put in place by the Brady Act, which allows states to run systems that is an alternate to the National Instant Check System. It’s possible the police have access to the Oregon Instant Check System records, which is how they found out about his purchase.
The Pennsylvania State Police have been abusing PICS for years to operate what we still claim is an illegal registry of firearms sales in Pennsylvania. We’ve had cases where gun owners, being pulled over in traffic stops, have had guns seized from them because when they were run, they were not “registered” to them. Most often this happens because the gun was brought in when they moved here, or any number of other reasons. We’ve also had cases where gun owners have been involved in self-defense incidents, where no charges end up being filed, but during the investigation to police come for the rest of their guns that are in the registry.
This is not uncommon among POC states, and one of the reason some state groups are pushing to have PICS eliminated, and to use the federal system. Our Uniforms Firearms Act was supposed to forbid making a registry out of the PICS data, but the State Supreme Court, in a great example of mincing words, said because the database is incomplete, it’s not a “registry” by law, and therefore the State Police were permitted to keep it. Sounds like a registry to me. Gun owners should start to consider whether, perhaps, they might be better off using the federal system, rather than allowing state level abuses of POC systems. It hasn’t worked out for Pennsylvania gun owners very well, and it looks like it’s not working out very well for Oregonian gun owners either.