Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

No Way Out: Feds Stop Processing NICS Denial Appeals

Friday, January 22, 2016

No Way Out: Feds Stop Processing NICS Denial Appeals

As much as the Brady Campaign, Bloomberg’s Everytown, and the Obama administration contend that submitting oneself to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a fast and simple process that does not significantly burden lawful firearms transferees, the fact is that for many of Americans that simply isn’t true. Each year thousands of Americans are wrongfully denied their Second Amendment rights when NICS incorrectly determines that they are prohibited from firearm ownership. Compounding this grave injustice, this week the FBI made public that they have stopped processing NICS denial appeals.

In what was dubbed a “makeshift reorganization” in a January 20 USA Today article, employees tasked with reviewing NICS appeals have been “temporarily” reassigned to assist with the considerable increase in background checks. According to the article, this has created a backlog of 7,100 denial appeals.

News of this personnel shift comes on the heels of Barack Obama’s much-publicized executive actions on gun control. Included in these actions was an intent to “hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process [NICS] checks.” When asked about this action in a January 20
hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Attorney General Loretta Lynch made clear that this plan would require some Congressional cooperation for funding, noting, “With respect to the 230, we do hope to begin hiring of that with using this fiscal year's appropriation. And then the 2017 request would allow us to maintain that.” Given the circumstances surrounding the public disclosure of the suspension of processing denial appeals, the personnel maneuver has the appearance of being a cynical bargaining chip in the pursuit of more resources.

It is important to understand the severe scope of the problem of erroneous denials, and thus the need for a well-functioning denial appeals process. FBI’s own informational materials provide evidence of the system’s potential for mistakes. The agency’s 2014 NICS operations report
, for example, explains that a denial merely “indicates the prospective firearms transferee or another individual with a similar name and/or similar descriptive features was matched with either federally prohibiting criteria or state-prohibiting criteria.” In 2014, 90,895 federal NICS checks resulted in a denial. That same year, 4,411 NICS denials were later overturned through the appeals process, or close to 5 percent of total denials that year.

Moreover, there is significant reason to believe that the number of erroneous denials is far greater than those overturned on appeal. Some individuals incorrectly denied may feel intimidated by the appeals process or simply dealing with the federal government in this capacity. In her book,
Brady Denial? You CAN Get Your Guns Back!, Attorney Cindy Ellen Hill, who has helped clients navigate the NICS denial appeals process, writes, “people who don’t appeal their Brady denials make that choice based on a lack of information, lack of money to hire a lawyer or investigator to assist them, or out of fear of drawing further unwanted attention from federal and state law enforcement authorities.”

Suspending the NICS denial appeal process takes on an even more sinister character when one contemplates the chief gun control measure advocated by the Obama administration. Under a “universal” background check scheme, individuals would be unable to lawfully obtain firearms without subjecting themselves to a NICS check. If such legislation was currently in force, an individual who found themselves erroneously flagged by NICS, no matter how law-abiding, would have no avenue to legally acquire a firearm and no means to challenge their incorrect NICS status, obliterating their ability to exercise their rights in perpetuity, short of judicial intervention.

The Constitution guarantees that an individual cannot be deprived of liberty without the due process of law. When the FBI, or any other arm of the state, erroneously deprives a person of their rights without due process it should be the paramount concern of the government to correct the error. While there has been a sizable increase in NICS checks in recent years, resulting from record demand for firearms, suspending the NICS denial appeals process is not an acceptable means of meeting new demand. NRA will continue to monitor this gross disregard for those illegitimately denied their Second Amendment rights and will work to ensure an available, fair, and timely NICS denial appeals process.

TRENDING NOW
Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

On Friday, November 22nd, the Kentucky state Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider so called “red-flag laws.” Though no legislation has been introduced, such laws usually allow for Second Amendment rights to be suspended ...

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

News  

Monday, November 11, 2019

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke abandoned his run for President last week, once again leaving a void for the most strident anti-gun candidate seeking the Democrat nomination. Even before declaring his candidacy for President, ...

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

News  

Gun Laws  

Monday, November 11, 2019

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Tremp In recent weeks, gun owners have been given two prime examples of just how important strong firearms preemption laws are to the vibrant exercise of Second Amendment rights. On October ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

When the Democrats who are seeking their party’s nomination to run against Donald Trump in 2020 start talking about guns, anyone who supports our right to keep and bear arms knows to be concerned. Of ...

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

Photo Courtesy of Silencer Shop On October 28th, the National Hearing Conservation Association sent its new position paper on firearms suppressors to the American Suppressor Association. The paper, in short, recognizes the important role that ...

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Friday, June 14, 2019

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Ignoring the constitutional rights of law-abiding Nevadans, on June 14th, Governor Steve Sisolak signed omnibus anti-gun Assembly Bill 291 into law.  Your NRA would like to thank the many lawmakers who stood with our members and ...

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

On September 19th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Melissa Sargent (D-48), and Senator Lena Taylor (D-4) held a press conference calling on the Legislature to violate the Second Amendment by: 1) ...

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

As anti-gun as the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have exposed themselves to be, much of the field still gives lip-service to the Second Amendment and the Constitution. Take for instance Joe Biden. The leading candidate’s campaign has said that ...

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

A law designed to protect the firearm industry from frivolous litigation is now in jeopardy thanks to inaction by the U.S. Supreme Court, which earlier this month passed on a petition to review a case ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.