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Factcheck: People in Country Illegally Cannot Own Guns


An Associated Press factcheck finds that, despite recent contentions otherwise, migrants without legal immigration status cannot own guns. Federal law prohibits people in the country illegally from purchasing or possessing firearms, with “limited exceptions,” if a firearm is issued for use by a federal, state or local government or agency, an ATF spokesperson told The Associated Press. Also, the ATF does not have the power to change federal gun laws, only implement them, the AP notes.


The disinformation has spread since last week, when Laken Hope Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, was found dead near running trails on the University of Georgia campus. A Venezuelan citizen named Jose Ibarra has been arrested on murder and assault charges in connection to her death. Social-media posts falsely claimed that the ATF had made it easier for people who enter the U.S. illegally to obtain certain lethal weapons, the AP reported. Many posts include a video of a woman who says that her husband, who owns a gun shop, told her that “the ATF has made updates to their background check policy and effective today, they give an exemption to illegal immigrants to be able to purchase firearms.” Not true, writes the AP in its factcheck, which found that the Gun Control Act, which was passed in 1968, prohibits licensed gun dealers from selling firearms to anyone who “is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.”

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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