In 2010, nearly 80,000 Americans were denied guns after providing false information about their criminal histories during the background check. Technically, it’s a felony to lie during this process. Yet only 44 would-be buyers were ever charged with a crime, according to the New York Times. …

But there was an explanation, or at least an attempt at one. After a heated back and forth, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn argued that these specific types of prosecutions were largely a distraction. “It’s a paper thing. I want to stop the 76,000 people who are buying guns illegally,” he said. “If you think we’re going to do paperwork prosecutions, we’re wrong.”

In a later exchange with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Walsh agreed, arguing that there was little point in going after people who had already failed background checks — since they were unable to buy guns anyway. “There’s no way the Department of Justice could have prosecuted all 1.5 million people who were rejected over that 15 year period.”