For most people, buying a gun through a licensed firearms dealer in Oklahoma is a simple process that can take as little as an hour.
The only requirement is that you are 21 years old, can show proof of residency, can pay in full and can pass a federal background check.
After selecting a gun, applicants are required to fill out Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473, as well as a child safety notification form. These forms collect the applicant's personal identification information and run down the list of prohibitions.
A person cannot buy or possess a firearm, for example, if he has a current or prior felony record or was convicted of a domestic violence crime.
The salesman will verify the information by reviewing the applicant's driver's license, and then he will run the application information through the Federal Bureau of Investigation's nationwide database, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
During a NICS check, the prospective firearm transferee's name and descriptive information is checked against records in three nationally held databases:
• Interstate Identification Index maintains 58.6 million criminal court records.
• National Crime Information Center maintains data on persons who are subjects of protective orders or active criminal warrants, or who have violated immigration law (48.2 million records as of 2010).
• NICS Index collects and maintains records of prohibited persons as contributed by local, state, tribal or federal agencies. This index is where prohibitive mental health records are maintained, and it currently has about 6.4 million of these records.
Since 1998, the FBI has denied more than 9,000 firearm applications because the applicant was adjudicated mentally disturbed, which accounts for 1 percent of total denials. Another 77,000, or about 8 percent, were denied because records indicated the applicant was an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance.
Finally, citizenship information is run by databases at the Department of Homeland Security.
The background check process takes minutes, and most verification is completed instantly.
If approved, the applicant can fill out the remainder of the form, sign it, and after the clerk completes some additional computer and payment processing, the transaction is complete.