Nics background system explained better
Seems like we have been getting a lot more people asking questions about the NICS system and how the process works out. Everytime that comes around many people will give their personal experience with it however that experience can be much different depending on the state.
Check out this picture showing which states and how FFL holders go through background checks. The small majority of the states in Green use the NICS system for all transactions. The Red states use a State check for all transactions. The Blue use a state check for handguns and the NICS check for long guns. The Yellow states use the NICS check for long guns.
For the Green states above all transactions and the Blue and Yellow states for long guns they will use the NICS system. The NICS system is a National Instant Criminal history Search. It is a collaboration between the ATF and the FBI with the FBI actually doing the background checks. FFL Holders can either call the checks in or punch them in on the LEEP website. They call it the "Instant Search" because when your information is ran it works on a system of "hits", if something like your name or social security makes a "hit" it has detected something on your record. When a check is initiated there are 3 possible outcomes:
If there is no hits it goes instantly to a proceed and you take your gun. If there is hit it will go into "further review" if calling or "researching" if on computer. That means the system detected something that they need a live person to look at, research and make a determination. At this point it could go either way, normal time is 2-5 minutes, when things are busy it could be as long as 30 minutes, at that point I believe there is a cut off if no one looks at it in a certain time it just times out and goes to a Delay. If the "hit" that caused a further review is something easily looked and able to tell it was a false hit (like a common name) it will be a proceed. If its something they need to look at further it will be a delay. The vast majority or our sales come back an instant proceed.
Delay means they they need to look at something further. A good example of this would be someones history showed a DUI and they are checking to see if he is prohibited from owning firearms while on probation or the person has a felony that closes as a misdemeanor if conditions are met, etc. Usually a delay takes 1 to 3 days. After 3 business days a and no response an FFL can choose whether to transfer it or not. the majority of the time they provide a response within a day or two of either a proceed or deny.
Self explanatory, instant Denies are rare, most often it is a Delay followed by a Deny later on. Denies in general are rare, most people that can't pass a background check know that and don't even try.
This is a great video that outlines basically what I stated above with flow charts, it is 12 minutes long but if you wish to skip the history lesson of gun control just skip to about 4 minutes in.
Some states allow FFLs to take Concealed Weapons Permits in place of doing a NICS check which you can then bypass the check altogether. Even if the state allows it some FFLs will not do that and will still conduct a NICS check. It is up to the dealer but most will take the permit in place of the check. According to the picture I posted above 25 out of all the states and territories allow this. They are denoted with an * on the map above.
Sorry for the super long post, I just thought I would put this together to try get everyone on the same page about how the whole system works. All of the above is "instrastate" only, meaning a person buying the gun in a state they are a resident of. Again, buying guns in others states is a complicated mess. I did I write up about that awhile back, here it is:
Thanks for reading and I hope you found some value in this post.