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NICS Announces Temporary Processing Change Due to Increased Sales

National Instant Background Check System NICS logo

The elections are around the corner and some panic buying is happening. This is apparently putting a bigger strain on the NICS system than it can handle. In response to the increased traffic, the FBI NICS made a ‘temporary’ change to how some background checks will be processed. This could effect whether or not your next firearm purchase is approved and when. Here is the full release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

National Instant Background Check System NICS logo With very little notice, FBI NICS announced a temporary change in its processing procedure to be effective Saturday, Oct. 22. Rest assured, the NSSF will be addressing this matter with FBI NICS. The announcement follows: On Saturday, October 22, 2016, the NICS Section will be implementing a temporary processing change. Any transaction requiring review will be automatically placed into delay rather than being transferred to the FBI. Historically, the vast majority of NICS transactions, 76 percent, are provided an immediate response. The remaining are transferred to the FBI for review due to a descriptive match of the potential purchaser with a record in one of the databases searched by the NICS. This is known as the Transfer Process.

In a normal NICS operational realm, this real-time transfer process allows the FBI to assess whether the transaction could be given a final status by quickly reviewing the record(s) with which the potential purchaser matched and when possible allows the FFL to receive a response to additional transactions while he/she is still on the phone or actively engaged within the NICS E-Check system. However, due to increasing volume, the FBI staff has not been able to provide the Transfer Process service without negatively impacting FFLs with long wait times.

With ever-increasing volume, the FBI continues to look for opportunities to improve efficiency both for internal FBI staff and for FFLs. On high volume days, such as a Saturday, FFLs can often be on hold or in researching mode (for E-Check users) for an extended period of time. Therefore, the FBI would like to try a new approach this Saturday to see if there is benefit to placing transactions immediately into delay once a descriptive match is detected. By doing so, FBI staff may be able to process transactions faster and respond with a determination in a more efficient manner rather than keeping FFLs in a holding/researching status unnecessarily.

By not having the Transfer Process in place, all staff can be dedicated to work delayed transactions rather than being scheduled to answer phone calls and review E-Check transactions as part of the Transfer Process. The operational results of this change will be evaluated by the FBI early next week. If indeed benefits are realized for both the FBI and the FFL user community, long term changes may be considered.

How do you think this will impact your next purchase? What do you think the NSSF will be able to discover about this change? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (7)

    1. @ Dee Dee,

      Wrong! A couple of us already posted that no NICS check is needed with our permits. It’s obvious you read our posts and yet you still chose to refute us. Why wouldn’t our posts be enough to make you take pause and conduct a little research before posting such an inaccurate statement? Such embarrassment is easily avoidable.

      The fact is there are quite a few states that DO NOT require any kind of a State background check or federal NICS check during the time you possess a valid weapons permit or certain law enforcement credentials. Look it up!

  1. I was able to purchase a firearm at the Tampa Gun Show on Saturday without any delay. In fact, the BG check was complete before I finished filling out the form. So, I did not experience any delay at all.

  2. Whenever I hear stuff like this it makes me appreciate that I am exempt from having to go through a NICS check. With this news, I’ll appreciate it even more so because my FFL just notified me this morning that my new Ruger Enhanced Precision Rifle (6.5 Creedmoor) has arrived for pick-up.

    Though this NICS news may be unfortunate for many, I still revel in the fact it means weapons sales are up – which totally destroys the bogus stats put out by the anti-gun left that had been claiming sales are down.

    What ultimately burns me up is that just as guns and ammo were getting back to somewhat reasonable prices after Obama’s BS, along comes Hilary to screw it all up again.

  3. For me, I doubt it will have a negative impact.

    From reaction times when I buy i don’t have a match in the files. So I’m in the 76% as far as I know.

    The announced purpose from the FBI is to remove the delay time when personnel switch tasks to improve throughput. They appear to want to try it for a few days and see if it will speed things up.

    Other than being surprised they’re willing to change procedure without Congressional hearings, public announcements, opinion polls, and test panels, it sounds like a good idea.

    Give it a shot for a weekend and see what happens.

  4. sounds like some automatic approvals may happen

    can only delay so long then purchase happens

    of course already illegal as

    RIGHTS need not be approved by Government

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