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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now called all Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and interested parties to join its upcoming event that will include several useful resources and presentations pertaining to licensing and gun ownership. The event called the "NICS Retailer Day" will be held on July 25 at [more]
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Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS):
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), NICS "will be a national database containing records of persons who are disqualified from receiving firearms." The NICS computer and analysis center is situated in West Virginia, with the FBI in charge of its operation. The NICS computerized system is designed to handle most checks within just 2 minutes and roughly 150 transactions each minute. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time, 7 days a week, closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. FBI NICs regulations – http://www.fbi.gov/programs/nics/index.htm
There are three ways of accessing NICs background checks, depending on the state where a federal firearms license (FFL) holder does business. In some states, FFLs will contact NICS via a designated state point of contact (POC) for transfers. In some states, FFLs will do background checks by contacting the NICS Operation Center for transfers. In other states, FFLs will contact their state POC for handgun transfers, along with the NICS Operation Center for long gun transfers.
FFLs are informed on how they can contact NICS by BATF, which is responsible for establishing regulations related to the Brady Act implementation as well as for clarifying permit exemption questions. FFLs will contact NICS either directly by way of a toll-free call or computer, or through their local POC.
The FBI is not going to charge the FFL or the state agency a fee to check the NICS system.
Once a dealer and buyer are ready to conclude a transfer, a retailer can perform the NICS checks by contacting the FBI system directly by telephone needs to do the following:
While the law states that it provides three business days for the FBI to respond, the FBI anticipates that virtually every delay is going to be handled within a day. If records require further investigation, the FBI might take up to 72 hours to issue either a proceed or a denied response. There is, however, an appeals process for purchasers who feel that they were denied in error, and dealers are given forms for the process.
If you have been denied purchase visit our Denial Appeals Process page.
You will need to complete the BATF form 4473, then the dealer will call a phone number provided to him by the state. The state office will then contact NICS and look up your name against its database of disqualified persons. The state officer will then get a NICS transfer number (NTN) which in turn will be given to the dealer, who then records that number on the form 4473. The transfer of the firearm will only be allowed if no matching record can be found. Upon completing Part B of the 4473, the transfer is regarded as complete, and you take possession of your shotgun. The state may need additional forms and may also assign a state transaction number (STN) for the transaction.
Permits that qualify as established by BATF will exempt purchasers from a NICS background check with the point-of-sale, and handgun permits that meet the criteria will be accepted for long gun purchases. New buyers who do not possess a permit will need to undergo a NICS check, but all "permit states" are required to incorporate a NICS background check system into the permit application process. Also, anyone renewing his permit will undergo a NICS check.
The exemption for permit holders only applies if the permit was issued within the past 5 years, and the permit process has verified that the person possessing the firearm does not violate any federal or state law. So, a permit holder having a permit issued more than 5 years prior will need to undergo a NICS check, as will new permit applicants.
NICS background checks provide more extensive background checks than systems that include only criminal records and criminal history. The NICS report includes records from the Department of Defense concerning dishonorable discharges, records from the State Department regarding individuals who have renounced their citizenship along with other information not available in normal criminal background checks.
Purchases of firearms which are subject to the National Firearms Act (i.e. machine guns, destructive devices, etc.) and that have been approved for transfer under 27 CFR Part 179 are not subject to a NICS check. Purchases of firearms, in which the Secretary of the Treasury determines compliance with NICS to be impractical because of the ratio of law enforcement officers to land area of the state (less than 25 officers per 10,000 square miles) along with the absence of telecommunications facilities, are also exempt.
Considered valid for 30 days, a single NICS check can be applied to more than one firearm, provided that any additional firearms are transferred as part of one transaction. A transaction is considered complete when Part B of the 4473 form is executed, and the customer takes possession of the firearm.
No. In both cases, no NICS check is required.
Under federal law, firearms meeting the antique definition are not considered "firearms". If a collector of curios and relics sells firearms from his private collection, BATF says no NICS check is needed. Holders of BATF collector licenses are exempt from NICS checks for the transfer of curio and relic firearms. However, if the licensed dealer sells a curio or relic to anyone else in the public, a NICS check is required.
In case of a "crash," and a dealer isn't notified that the transfer is denied in three business days, the transfer may proceed. However, if a state POC network fails, a dealer should contact NICS directly.
If your state's permit meets the criteria as an alternative under the NICS system, the permit holder is exempt from a NICS background check.