The largest gun seizure in a decade took place last year to retrieve guns from people who failed federal background checks.

4,170 gun sales were revoked last year, a big jump from 2,892 the previous year. Here's some background on background checks.

  • Licensed gun dealers can only sell to purchasers who pass an FBI background check.
  • Approval or disapproval must come within 72 hours. (It usually takes minutes.)
  • If, for some reason, a decision isn't made within 72 hours; the sale may proceed.
  • However, if a reason to deny the sale appears later ... say the person failed to disclose a felony arrest or mental disorder diagnosis ... an order to seize the weapon is issued.

Some gun stores will still await official approval before completing the sale, even if it does take longer than 72 hours. The law doesn't say they cannot wait longer, just that they don't have to. Most states don't require background checks for private sales but, private sellers, (in Texas for example), can face penalties for selling to ineligible buyers.