Tag Archives: National Instant Criminal Background Check System

That’s a lot of Guns

One of the best indicators of firearms sales, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System logged 3,602,296 checks in November, an increase of 41 percent over the figure of 2,545,863 for November 2019. In fact, it was the biggest November in the NICS program’s 21-year history.

However, when checks and rechecks for carry permits and the like are subtracted from that figure by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, leaving a more concrete number for over-the-counter checks on gun transfers conducted through federal firearms licensees, it yields 1,949,141 checks, which is an increase of 45.2 percent compared to the November 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,342,155. 

When added to the rest of the year, the 2020 running total stands at some 19.1 million adjusted checks, dwarfing the 2016 annual record of 15.7 million checks, and the year still has another month to go before the books are closed. Of those checks, NSSF estimates that a whopping 7.7 million came from new first-time gun buyers. 


Could the NICS appeals backlog be next?

With signs that a historic swell in gun sales and associated background checks may be tapering, the federal government may soon tackle a logjam of denial appeals.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System is currently working voluntary appeals dating back to August 2015 — for individuals denied 18 months ago. However, it hasn’t always been like that. In September 2015, the average delay was three months.

The change came when the nearly 70 examiners dedicated to appeals were reassigned to assist in running initial criminal background checks because of surges in gun sales in October 2015. Since then the delay has grown, despite executive action to expand NICS’s workforce to meet increasingly robust sales figures, leaving appeals to stagnate.

But that could all be changing.

More in my column at Guns.com.

We’re from the government. We’re here to help

FBI_Badge_&_gun glock

At one point Greg Ledet made a minor mistake. Back in 1997 he was found guilty of a misdemeanor crime (theft under $100) and got 18 months probation for it under threat of a six-month jail term. Other than that minor (and petty) stain on his record, he has kept his nose clean and is by all accounts a law-abiding citizen. A stand-up guy.

According to U.S. law, there are a number of things that can make it illegal for you to be a prohibited firearms possessor (renouncing your citizenship, being convicted of a felony, of domestic violence, of serious misdemeanors that result in more than two years in the klink, serious mental illness, dishonorable discharges, et. al). If so adjudicated, the FBI’s NICS program will blackball you from being able to get a gun. None of these things Ledet did.

Well the feds for some reason have Ledet listed as a prohibited possessor, although they got his records from his home state in 2003 showing he was not. This led to him not being able to buy a gun legally in 2010. Somehow in seven years they didn’t update their files.

Trying again this year to buy a simple .22LR rifle, he was still denied.

He filed a color of law suit this year and suddenly the FBI was able to– just three weeks after they received notice to appear– approve his apparently forgotten appeals.


More in my column over at Guns.com

The all-seeing eye (of the networked FFL)

Go ahead, tell me you wouldn't shop there...

Go ahead, tell me you wouldn’t shop there…

Following the news that the terrorist in the Orlando attack was able to legally purchase his firearms from a local store after he was turned down by one licensed dealer just days before, I spoke a couple weeks ago with software developer and long-time gun owner Seth Banks who came up with an idea that gun shops could help network to keep this from happening in the future.

The idea is simple. A private network for verified Federal Firearms Licensees to share and report incidents they have with suspicious buyers, and communicate with each other. When one shop in the network posts an alert, other dealers within driving distance are alerted via email, in-app notification, and/or text message.

“FFLs deny gun purchases for all sorts of reasons; including mental health, straw sales, intoxication, violent comments in the store, etc. … FFLs are on the front line protecting our community from bad actors already. Why not make their jobs easier?” Banks argued.

And with that Gun Shop Watchlist was formed.

More in my column at Guns.com