How Does the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Work?

Get to know how our countries gun and firearm background check system works. Learn about the United States FBI Instant Criminal Background Check System and how it can improve our safety and protect our rights as American citizens International Background Check.

The national instant criminal background check system (NICS) is a safeguarding system that is connected to the Interstate Identification Index as well as the National Crime Information Center. This is used to determine the eligibility of an individual’s legal clearance to buy firearms. Those who have committed a criminal act, have serious mental illness, have been dishonorably discharged from the military, are in the country illegally, or those with outstanding warrants for misdemeanors and felonies are placed on a national list of denial which will prevent gun ownership.

The national instant criminal background check system is supposed to be a convenient point of sale system that clears gun purchasers to buy legal firearms through a licensed gun dealer. There is a phone system in place that allows a gun dealer to call in for the immediate clearance of a prospective buyer. There are times when the call goes to the FBI or the national instant criminal background check system (NICS) and there are times when a representative from a call center is charged with answering the phone. By law, NICS has 3 days to respond to an inquiry before a sale can be completed. If the 3 day waiting period expires then the sale of the gun can go through.

If a mistake is made and a sale is completed after the 3 day cut off, the legal action is to get the gun back. However, sometimes it is not quite so simple. A completed transaction means that the gun dealer’s records must be accurate. They can only be as accurate as the information provided at the time of sale.

Once the gun dealer has contacted the national instant criminal background check system, the chances of receiving instant information increase when the state of sale has current technology. When the state of sale has linked into the national database and has then linked into the system for easy access, the gun dealers can usually access the database via the internet. With the internet, access should be granted upon request and the background check should pass or fail within minutes or faster.

Not all states offer easy access as of yet. Internet connection to the national instant criminal background check system is still in the works. The same law that requires the background checks before the purchase of a hand gun also states that the access must be relatively simple to avoid harming business or trampling on the right to bear arms. An indefinite search would complicate matters from both sides of such an equation.

Anyone who has been denied the purchase of a firearm due to a failed national instant criminal background check system (NICS) can appeal the decision through the process of pleading their case to the court. The final say is often in the hands of the judge of the court room. There are good points and bad points to the NICS, and even today there are still new and improved enhancements being added to help ensure that citizens have their right to bear arms just as much as they have the right to feel safe.

Leave a Reply