NSSF: What FFLs Need to Know Right Now

By Joe Bartozzi

As our nation continues to navigate its response to the COVID-19, we recognize the firearm industry, like many others, is being impacted. NSSF® is aware of delays within the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) System. FFLs need to know that the FBI is on the job and working diligently to address the dramatic response and increase in background checks experienced over the past few days.

As we noted here on Monday, March 16, 2020, the NICS staff experienced more than a 300% increase compared to this same time period in 2019. States that process their own NICS checks are reporting similar spikes. Colorado’s Bureau of Investigation, for example, announced that checks last week were double the same week last year, and the increased volume has created a backlog of about 5,000 checks awaiting processing. Wait times have increased from between five and eight minutes to two days.

As we’ve seen in the past with other national events, our citizens often seek to exercise their Second Amendment rights during times of uncertainty. This is important to protect, as states and localities are considering measures that seek to shut non-essential businesses. There is nothing more essential than our Constitutional right to protect ourselves, our families and our property.

Delay Implications

According to NICS, there are delays in the system due to an astronomical volume of transactions over the last several days. While much of the NICS System is automated and yields an immediate “proceed” or “deny” determination, transactions that result in a delayed status require the work of NICS examiners to investigate whether the transaction should be approved. With daily volumes roughly double that of last year, the NICS team is unable to begin investigations on all delays within three business days, creating a backlog in the delayed checks.

Some states’ offices and agencies are considering options to protect the health and safety of their employees, which may include a reduction in staff or a temporary closure. For FFLs in one of these areas that receive a delayed response from the NICS, please note the Brady transfer date provided to you by the FBI could be extended beyond the normal three business days.

The three-business-day timeframe does not begin until relevant state offices are open for business. Additionally, because of the dramatic increase in volume, it is important to recognize that FBI staff may not be able to begin their research on delayed transactions as they normally would. It’s up to the FFL’s discretion, but they may want to consider waiting on a definitive response from the NICS before opting to proceed with a sale on any delayed transaction.

Patience and Prudence

These are exceptional and uncertain times, and FFLs may wish to consider implementing temporary changes in order to safeguard their businesses and communities. However, please note that when state offices are closed, it does not constitute a “business day” for purposes of calculating the “three business days” period before an FFL may transfer a firearm to a non-licensee as mandated by the Brady Act.

The NICS Section is working overtime to get through the backlog, and we appreciate their hard work and open communication. NSSF will continue to communicate with NICS and our members to ensure operations move forward as smoothly as possible during this period.

Joe Bartozzi is the President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

About NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Brent Globus March 20, 2020, 1:28 pm

    …and if anyone here is dumb enough to think that the BGC system is really for background checks and not a ‘back-door gun registration scheme” let me ask you this.
    Scenario; You go the the LGS and buy the gun you want. While waiting for the BGC to be processed, you look over the guns in the cases. Your BGC comes back clean and you complete the sale. You take your gun out to your car while the merchant fills in all the information (make/mode/serial no./Type/caliber on the gun you just bought (which has nothing to do with whether or not you are clean or a criminal, they want the info on the gun you now have.
    You sit in your car for a few minutes, thinking about that neat little .22 you saw in the used gun case and decide, “what the heck. I can afford it!” You go back into the store to buy it. Guess what? You have to undergo ANOTHER background check! Even though you just did one 10 minutes ago. Why? Because it’s NOT a BGC on YOU, it’s registration of the gun(s) you bought.
    Further, fight against “Universal BGC’s” as hard as you can because, once a state gets UBGC’s, in 2 generations they will know where every legal gun is. THAT’S when confiscation can begin.
    And, if as so many people stupidly say, “I’ll lose my guns on a boating trip,” realize you can then never use or enjoy them after that.
    DO NOT give in to Universal background Checks!

  • dave brown March 20, 2020, 11:59 am

    Long time gunner here, 68 and shooting since age 12, and back then a 12 year kid could carry a 22 long gun down the street as he walked out of town to do some shooting. I say both the right and left are Full Of It. If the right actually wanted to they could make National Carry Happen. Then they could free their gun free zones such as their office buildings. Want to argue about them really being on our side, just re-read what I wrote. Now I have lived during many different kinds of gun control that both the right and left agreed to, and none of them hurt me much. As for Our FFL System it is one of our longest running Gun Control Systems, and I Pray that it stays in place. So how about We All Get Of The Pot, yep the right and left as they can come together with something at works. I Want National Carry, but it appears neither the Right nor the Left want it. Open ur eyes, Free ur Mind, Be Party Blind as neither party is really in it for USA. God Bless

    • Boss March 20, 2020, 2:11 pm

      I remember going to the drug store at the corner when i was 9 years old with my 22lr rifle and giving them a dime for a box of fifty long rifles.

      It has been a long time and a lot of changes have come along.

  • T March 20, 2020, 11:46 am

    All these ‘Pro-#2A’ articles on these INFRINGEMENTS and not a word on how we need to repeal the NICS for these reasons alone. You do not ask your tyrant for permission to be armed to fight their tyranny. It’s absurd.

    The NICS is unconstitutional and this proves the reason why it really is.

    We need to start a movement to disband the NICS.

  • Robert S Irwin March 20, 2020, 8:10 am

    The other side of this story is called 2A. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Government standing in the way of a citizen buying a firearm by not doing their job is definitely infringement. I abide by the law daily in my FFL business. I have passed multiple background checks for LTC, LTC instructor, FFL and SOT. I don’t get a pass for not obeying the law. By the same token, government doesn’t get a pass either. I make adjustments daily to keep my customers content. ATF/NICS has the full power of the federal govt to do the same. Crap or get off the pot.

    • Zupglick March 20, 2020, 10:10 am

      Hear, hear!

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