Because of a disagreement between the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), more than 2,000 guns were bought over 15 years by people the FBI said should not have had them, says a Justice Department Inspector General’s report by quoted by the Christian Science Monitor. As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have taken dramatically different stances on the issue of gun control, the new report, which uncovered a loophole through which some of those the FBI deemed unfit to own firearms can purchase them, puts new scrutiny on how existing laws are enforced.
The FBI is responsible for running background checks on gun buyers. If the agency finds buyers unfit, the responsibility to retrieve them falls on ATF. The two agencies disagree on who qualifies as a “fugitive from justice,” a label that prohibits prospective buyers from acquiring firearms. While the FBI has considered anyone with an outstanding warrant to fall under the category, ATF argues that prospective gun owners should be allowed to purchase firearms in the state where the warrant was issued but not in other states. The report called for clarification on the “fugitive of justice” discrepancy.