Gun Check System Has Deadly Flaw

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Under the so-called Brady Law, efforts have been made to reduce gun violence nationwide through background checks on gun buyers.

But as CBS News Correspondent Maureen Maher reports, the law doesn't always keep guns out of criminal hands. On the back streets of Baton Rouge, another shooting has left a young man dead and another man charged with murder.


A few pictures and memories are all David Jackson's mother has left of her son.

Jackson was gunned down following a confrontation at a car wash just outside the city, allegedly by Jaron Jerod Ausbon, a man with a long criminal history who, the district attorney says, should never have been able to buy a gun.

"There are people in this world like Jaron Ausbon who are diabolical and manipulate the system," says District Attorney Tony Clayton.

In 1993 when the Brady Bill was signed, the government was given five years to create the National Instant Check System. It is supposed to be a one-stop information shop to keep criminals from buying guns. But in Jaron Ausbon's case - and in thousands of others - it failed.

Seventy-three percent of the time, checks are completed within three minutes. The FBI then has three days to investigate the others and get back to the store. If it doesn't, the buyer gets the gun, no questions asked.

On March 29, 1999, when Ausbon went to purchase a gun, an indictment for armed robbery should have been enough to keep a weapon out of his hands. It wasn't.

Ausbon got his gun from a pawnshop, but not because the owner didn't follow the rules. Since the FBI began instant checks in 1998, 5.5 million checks have been performed, preventing nearly 100,000 people from illegally purchasing a gun. However, some 5,000 have slipped through the cracks of a system that is clearly not perfect.

"It calls for people to participate and whenever people participate there's a greater chance of human error," says Clayton.

The FBI relies heavily on local law enforcement to update the records. But too often, smaller communities can't keep up.

Ausbon's record should have shown that he is skilled at ducking the system. In the last eight years, the 25-year-old has been arrested nearly a dozen times on charges ranging from sex with a minor to murder. But without a single felony conviction and only the indictment on file, it took the FBI five days to pinpoint why the system would not approve him.

By then, Ausbon had bought a .38 caliber handgun. Soon after David Jackson was dead, leaving his family angry and confused.

Ausbon goes on trial for murder later this year. That is little consolation for a mother who lost her son because a system designed to protect did not.


  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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