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).
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.