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Fact Check Friday: Background Checks For Gun Buyers

Cristiana Verro browses for guns on sale at the National Armory gun store in Pompano Beach, Florida - April 11, 2013 (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Cristiana Verro browses for guns on sale at the National Armory gun store in Pompano Beach, Florida – April 11, 2013 (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It’s that time again – Fact Check Friday. It’s when, with the help of factcheck.org, a nonpartisan non-profit part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, we dig down and get to the truth.

Today we’re focusing on background checks for gun buyers. Are they really in a government registry? If not, would a government registry be created? If not, why not?

Researching this is Robert Farley, the Deputy Managing Editor at factcheck.org.

There is an ad from the National Association for Gun Rights, which takes aim at some very gun-friendly people, including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.

“Manchin’s beating the drum to herd gun owners into a federal registration system to let Washington bureaucrats strip gun rights from veterans and other Americans without trial if they seek mental health counseling,” the ad said.

Is there a plan for a federal gun registry?

“There is not,” Farley told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot. “Current law bars the FBI from retaining records on those who pass background checks and there’s nothing in that plan that Joe Manchin is proposing that would change that. In fact, his law specifically prohibits a federal registry.”

So, the FBI is required, right now, to destroy records?

“Actually Congress, every year, inserts language into an annual spending bill that requires the FBI to destroy firearms transfer records within 24 hours of approval,” Farley said. “So, they get a day.”

So, if someone were to buy a gun today and they would get cleared by this expanded background check if it were law, that record would be gone 24 hours later?

“Right, as far as the FBI is concerned,” Farley said. “Now the person who sold the gun is required to keep those records for 20 years.”

What about the claim in the ad about banning gun sales to people who had mental health counseling? So, if you go see a therapist, you can’t buy a gun?

“No. That’s not correct either. Manchin’s bill specifically talks about people who have been adjudicated as having mental health problems and will be barred from owning a handgun,” Farley said.

“Clarify that. When you say adjudicated by a judge, what do you mean?” replied Cabot.

“They have to have been found mentally unstable, by a judge. It’s not a case of a person making a voluntary decision to go see a psychiatrist or psychologist,” said Farley.

What do you think about gun control? Sound off below.