AZ Gun Sales Could End August 22

By Alan Korwin, Author
The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide


Unless the state's gun dealers can "enroll" with the FBI by August 22,
retail gun sales will screech to a halt six weeks from now.  On that
date DPS closes its office for conducting Brady-law background checks on
gun buyers.  Retail sales by dealers cannot legally be made without this
required service.

The state legislature closed the office by repealing A.R.S. 13-3114, the
law that created the Firearms Clearance Center. They characterized their
actions as a budget-cutting move, though all employees will be retained
in other positions, and the air-conditioned office space inside DPS HQ
is not going anywhere.

The center was created to comply with the Brady Handgun law, and was
originally called the Handgun Clearance Center.  When the Brady handgun
law took control over long guns five years later, the name was changed
and DPS began checking out every retail sale in the state.  The DPS
staff would check local records and then the FBI's central "NICS"
registry, to get the required transaction number for each sale.

Now, instead of calling the small DPS office to obtain background check
approvals for gun sales, dealers will make toll-free calls to federal
NICS customer service representatives, huge telephone banks in
Pennsylvania and West Virginia, under contract to the FBI.  They are
open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. EST, and closed for
Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The call centers already handle 60,000 federally licensed firearms
dealers (FFLs), from the states that do not provide the FBI with a
"Point of Contact" office such as AZ DPS had provided.  At last count,
only 18 states provided a buffer between its dealers and the FBI in this

The FBI prefers the POC approach, which transfers some of the burden for
implementing the law to local authorities, increases the records
available to search, and insulates the Bureau's sensitive data from tens
of thousands of gun dealers.  The POC plan has received lukewarm
reception from the states, with most, and now Arizona, bowing out.

Arizona at last count had 1,289 FFLs, down from more than 6,000, before
regulatory changes during the Clinton administration forced 75% of gun
dealers out of business nationwide.  The authorities have never
suggested that the Brady law was only made possible by drastically
shrinking the number of dealers, thereby reducing the cost to a
manageable $300 million plus expenses.

A spokeswoman for the separate FBI NICS Operations Center, which itself
has 500 employees, says the FBI is preparing to send enrollment packets
to the state's dealers "shortly," and that the simple registration
process should be easily completed before the deadline, when DPS will
not conduct checks and dealers would be effectively shut down.  The
dealers' numbers are on file with BATF, and those lists will be used to
coordinate the activity.  Dealers will pick their own access codes, from
6 to 10 digits alphanumeric, no obscenities please.

Coming soon, the call operators will be able to forward all customer
"delay" responses to FBI agents for clearing up on the spot if possible,
a service not currently available.  Delays that are unresolved in three
business days may proceed.  All "deny" responses are sent to BATF and
local authorities for followup at those agencies' discretion.

To reach the NICS Operation Center call 1-877-444-6427.

To reach the AZ Firearms Clearance Center while it still exists call

At the DPS Concealed Weapons Unit, 602-256-6280, background checks on
permit applicants already run directly through the FBI and are
unaffected by these changes.

Tucson activist Ken Rineer, in his informative report, sums up the
legislation thus:

Arizona Legislature Abolishes the Firearms Clearance Center
When HB 2708 was passed and Governor Hull let it go in to effect without
signing it on June 4th, 2002, the Firearms Clearance Center became a
thing of the past.  The legislature repealed A.R.S. 13-3114 in its
entirety and directed the Department of Public Safety to notify the U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation that the State of Arizona would no
longer conduct background checks on the purchasers of firearms from
federally licensed firearms dealers.  According to DPS, the Firearms
Clearance Center will no longer accept calls on August 22, 2002.  This
is not a good thing. <snip>

To get on Ken's FACT-Alert list and get the rest of his important
report, send him a note at, and just tell him you
know me (which I'll deny).

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Please show this to your favorite gun dealer.
They have gotten little or no news of this yet.

Alan Korwin
"We publish the gun laws."
4718 E. Cactus #440
Phoenix, AZ 85032
602-996-4020 Phone
602-494-0679 FAX
1-800-707-4020 Orders

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