Creswell gun shop owner understands the importance of background checks

The owner of Emerald Valley Armory said there's a lot of paperwork required to purchase a firearm, but it's worth it to keep guns out of the wrong hands. (SBG photo)

CRESWELL, Ore. – Across the country, gun sales are extremely regulated. Every gun going in or out of a shop is accounted for and every customer who purchases a gun must go through a background check. On top of that, every dealer who sells a gun must keep track of it all.

“Everything's booked in and booked out. This is when it came in, the dates that it came in, who it went out to and the date that it went out,” said Raye Gunter, owner of Emerald Valley Armory.

Not one firearm goes out the door without completed paperwork. It starts with a 44-73.

“Under indictment? Ever been convicted of a felony? Are you a fugitive from justice?” Gunter described the initial form.

It’s a federal background check that must be approved before purchase.

“Our core mission is protecting the public from violent crime involving the illegal use of firearms and explosives. We take that very seriously,” said Jason Chudy from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, also known as ATF.

“ATF periodically comes into our shops, does an inventory of everything we have, goes through or books, takes an inventory of everything that we have, makes sure everything is logged in and logged out correctly. They go through our 44-73s to make sure that we're getting our information correctly,” Gunter said.

Convicted felons, fugitives, and domestic violence criminals are just a few examples of people who cannot buy a gun.

“The last thing I want to do is sell a firearm to somebody who's going to do something bad with it,” Gunter said.

For the most part, those people know they can’t and won’t even try to purchase a firearm, Gunter said.

He said he’s already turned away two customers this year who didn’t pass the background check.

“That's a lot. I don't think we had any last year that were denied,” he said.

Gunter and ATF said illegal gun transactions through licensed dealers are rare.

“There are cases where you've got dealers who are doing shady stuff, but it's not the norm. I would say less than one percent,” Gunter said.

He said all of the documentation is a lot of work, but it’s worth it to make sure guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.

Gunter said he’s also always on the lookout for straw sales. That’s when one person buys a firearm for someone else who can’t legally buy one for himself or herself. That’s a felony too and he says if he sees it, he puts a stop to the sale immediately.

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