Local gun shop describes process of background checks in Vermont

Published: Oct. 23, 2022 at 9:31 AM EDT
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WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Authorities last week said the suspect in a New Hampshire double murder used a fake ID and alias to buy a handgun at a Barre gun shop. The revelation has raised concerns about the glaring loophole in the federal gun background check system. Reporter Cam Smith spoke with the owner of another gun shop to find out how the background check works.

When Logan Clegg was arrested in Vermont for the shooting deaths of Stephen and Wendy Reid back in April, he had a handgun that police say he bought at R & L Archery in Barre using a phony ID, fooling FBI background checks.

We spoke with Henry Parro with Parro’s Gun Shop in Waterbury about the gun-buying process. After interacting with customers, Parro says employees first create a customer profile in their database. They check the customer’s ID is checked and photocopy it into their system.

“We scan the back of the license, it has a barcode. Everything has to match, and then we physically look at the person and look at their height, weight, and eye color. We try to make a determination that it is that person,” Parro said.

After the ID is scanned, the information gets linked along with a code that the customer uses to fill out the federal form that is required by law. Parro says that form asks a series of questions regarding mental health and domestic violence convictions. Typically the results of the background check come back within minutes.

“Once you get all done, you would sign it, date it, then complete it. From there, it gets submitted into what we call the Background Check Station,” Parro said.

Those computers submit the information to the FBI. The first step filters whether the person is permitted to own a firearm. If the name passes that, it goes through several other filters until it’s approved.

Parro says no matter how diligent a store is in the process, it’s completely up to the feds to make the determination based on everything supplied throughout the process.

We also spoke to former U.S. Attorney for Vermont Christina Nolan about Clegg’s case, and she says using a fake ID to purchase a gun is a federal felony that carries up to 10 years in prison.

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