National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) — FBI

Good afternoon Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Feinstein, and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

What is the NICS and How Does it Work?

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 (Brady Act) requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to use the NICS to determine whether a prospective firearm transfer would violate state or federal laws. The NICS is a computerized system designed to supply information to determine if a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving firearms by conducting a search of available records. In addition to state law and state firearm prohibitions that vary greatly across the nation, there are 10 federal firearm prohibitions as listed in the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended.1 When an FFL initiates a NICS transaction, a name check is conducted to

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