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
Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Monday, May 22, 2017

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Last week, attorneys on behalf of the NRA filed an amicus brief in Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (Kitsap II), the case which challenges Kitsap County’s firearm discharge ban and range licensing scheme.  Kitsap Rifle and ...

Maryland: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Maryland: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed House Bill 1427 into law.

From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

News  

Friday, May 19, 2017

From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

We have yet to reach Memorial Day, but the fun police have already set their sights on at least one cherished summer childhood activity. In an article for Pupsugar.com, titled, “Why Kids Should Never Play ...

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

The Supreme Court of North Dakota confirmed this week that simply possessing a handgun while on one’s own private property cannot support a finding of "disorderly conduct" under the state’s disorderly conduct restraining order law. ...

Kansas: Senate Committee Passes Gun Free Zone Legislation, Again

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kansas: Senate Committee Passes Gun Free Zone Legislation, Again

Last week, the Senate Committee of the Whole referred an amended version of House Bill 2278 back to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

California: AB 424 Passes Assembly - Appropriations Committees to Consider Suspense Items

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

California: AB 424 Passes Assembly - Appropriations Committees to Consider Suspense Items

Friday, May 26th is the deadline for the fiscal committees to pass bills to the floor from the chamber of origin.  On Thursday, May 25, the Senate AppropriationsCommittee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 464 and Senate Bill 497. ...

California: Draft "Assault Weapon" Regulation Language Now Available

Thursday, May 18, 2017

California: Draft "Assault Weapon" Regulation Language Now Available

Today, May 18, a draft copy of the "Assault Weapon" regulations has been made available

Federal Lawsuit Challenging California’s Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines Filed

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Federal Lawsuit Challenging California’s Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines Filed

Today, May 18, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) announced it is supporting, along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California’s ban on the possession ...

Bloomberg's Everytown Creates "Authors Council" to Push Anti-Gun Propaganda

News  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bloomberg's Everytown Creates "Authors Council" to Push Anti-Gun Propaganda

As if the country’s media weren’t already sufficiently co-opted by anti-gun advocates, this week, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety announced an effort to pervert an additional facet of American entertainment. The billionaire bank-rolled interest group has ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.