Trump mandate clears way for more to own guns

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  • NEW YORK TIMES

    Smith & Wesson AR-15 rifles for sale at a gun show in Loveland, Colo., in 2014.

ATLANTA >> A little-noticed mandate from the Trump administration has cleared the way for some people with outstanding arrest warrants to purchase guns, a change that worries law enforcement officials who say it could be allowing dangerous criminals to arm themselves.

Six months after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo redefining who is a fugitive from justice — and cannot have a gun — more than a half a million names have been dropped from a national law enforcement database used to determine who may purchase firearms and/or obtain a carry permit, according to FBI records provided to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I cannot believe this has happened,” said Vernon Keenan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“I told them this is a problem,” he said about a conversation he had with the FBI about the change in fugitive definition.

Supporters said the guidance was needed to clear up confusion in the law.

Who is a fugitive?

Fugitives are among the groups of people who are barred from buying a gun under federal law. But who actually qualifies has been the subject of an almost decade-long dispute between the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,…

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