Tue January 13, 2004
Gun Laws Reviewed?
By Alabama Public Radio
Athens, AL – Some state officials are considering changes after a former mental patient was able to buy an assault rifle that he is accused of using to kill two Athens police officers.
Farron Barksdale was able to pass an FBI background check and buy the rifle because Alabama does not report involuntary mental commitments to the FBI's database. An involuntary commitment is one of several reasons for which federal law prohibits a person from purchasing a gun. But Alabama and many other states don't report them to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The system is overseen by the FBI, and used by gun dealers in Alabama and 25 others states to check the backgrounds of potential gun owners. Barksdale purchased his SKS-39 rifle and ammunition from a Pistol and Pawn shop in Huntsville.
However, Barksdale could also have avoided a background check by purchasing the weapon from an individual or at a gun show where background checks are not required.