Left-handed NICS applicant (courtesy fixnics.org)

Two months after the Charleston church shooting, the National Rifle Association has finally got ’round to telling the general public why a three-day deadline for a NICS background check protects Americans’ gun rights. But not before anti-firearms freedom politicians scrambled to introduce legislation to fix the “loophole” that allowed the spree killer to buy a GLOCK 41 from a local gun store. Here’s the NRA’s take . . .

Fairfax, VA -(AmmoLand.com)- With Americans buying firearms at record-shattering levels and public opinion turning against gun control over the last few years, anti-gun groups and politicians are trying to convince firearm dealers to voluntarily refuse to sell firearms to some of their law-abiding customers.

The anti-gunners’ new effort tracks with the three-part plan outlined by the Brady Campaign in 1976, when it was known as the National Council to Control Handguns, to first “slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country,” and thereafter get handguns registered, then banned from private possession.

Except that now it’s not only about handguns, it’s about all firearms

At issue is the federal law that requires firearm dealers to delay, for three business days, transfers of firearms to customers whose background checks are not quickly approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The delay is to give the FBI time to sort out background checks on the vast majority of persons whose identities or records cannot be ascertained immediately, but is necessarily limited to three days to prevent bureaucratic glitches from preventing people from acquiring firearms altogether.

As the FBI explains“In most cases, the results of a background check yield definitive information regarding an individual’s eligibility when the firearm background [check] is initiated. However, not all inquiries can be provided a final status during the initial contact with the NICS Section,” for a variety of reasons. In such cases, the FBI says, “the NICS Section must search for the information needed to complete the record” and federal law “allows the [firearm dealer] to legally transfer the firearm if the NICS transaction is not resolved within 3 business days.”

13 anti-gun U.S. senators have asked Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s to refuse to sell firearms to customers whose background checks aren’t completed within three business days. So far, both retailers have rejected the demand. Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action group is making the same demand on Gander Mountain and the Sportsman’s Warehouse. And this week, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Brady Campaign president Dan Gross urged the same from firearm dealers nationwide.

The anti-gunners know more than they are telling, however. First, according to the FBI, if a background check cannot be completed within three days, “the NICS Section continues to search for the information necessary to make a final determination” and, if a person is determined to be prohibited, NICS will notify the BATFE to recover any firearms such person may have acquired. The FBI reports that in 2014, “The NICS Section forwarded 2,511 firearm retrieval referrals to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” something on the order of about 0.1 percent of all firearms sold by dealers that year.

Second, in some instances, even though the FBI continues working on an unresolved check after three days have passed, it will do so only for 90 days, after which time the check is terminated. Were dealers to acquiesce to anti-gunners’ new demand, people could be prevented from legally buying firearms by simply delaying their background checks until the time allotted for their checks expires.

That would certainly “slow down” firearm sales, while gun control supporters continue working toward the registration portion of their long-standing three-part plan by requiring background checks on private firearm sales.

About the 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.

For more information, please visit: www.nra.org. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

44 Responses to NRA: Why Three-Day NICS Deadline Protects Gun Rights

  1. I have never had a NICs check delayed more than a hour, but I was subjected to the extra 15-45 minute wait for almost every gun that I bought in the last 3 years, until I got my cpl.

    • A couple of years ago in Colorado we were running 2-3 weeks or more for background checks. Of course here, the state runs the system, so the FFLs had to sit on things until they came through.

        • It was an instacheck back then–the system is identical. It was just overwhelmed by the post-Newtown panic.

        • Yep, post-Newton CO was running a week for background checks, a year later and it was down to a few minutes…

    • I had a NICS check rejected by the Yellowstone county sheriff’s office once because I put my birthplace as “Ontario, CA.” The sheriff’s office person on the other end of the phone from the guy at Big Bear Sports was like, “Tell him a Canadian can’t buy pistols here.”

      I said, “Yes, I’m aware of that. However, I’m not Canadian. Ontario, CA is in CALIFORNIA. Suburb of Los Angeles. Though many would disagree, it’s still in America. Legally, anyways.”

      It then went through in about 30 seconds.

      • So wait, even if you are someone who legally migrated from Canada to CA and become a legal resident, you still can’t buy a handgun?

    • It is funny how concealed handgun licenses speed up the background check process. Whenever I have heard an FFL calling in my information to the NICS system, it seems like the dealer hasn’t even finished providing all of my information before I hear the dealer start confirming the “proceed” number for record keeping.

    • +10 x 10 to the infinity powers. All background checks are just political theater. With. Out. Fail.

      They already know the checks don’t work. Not because they’re not strong enough or not good enough. It’s because criminals will ALWAYS find a way to make a black market! Hell we KNOW where most of the guns that end up in a crime come from. The ATF tracks that stuff. Just shy of 40% come from a someone who doesn’t mind buying them for them, bit more less than 40%, less than 9% just bought their guns legally from a retail outlet. Oh and guns that were bought with that evil ‘gun show loophole’? Less than ONE. PERCENT.

  2. Were dealers to acquiesce to anti-gunners’ new demand, people could be prevented from legally buying firearms by simply delaying their background checks until the time allotted for their checks expires.
    Gee. How convenient for the people, err, reasonable and sensible gun control concerned citizens.

    • The NRA has a long history of helping to sell out gun rights. I wish the guys with the 6 pound NRA belt buckles would do some reading instead of calling every one a commie who points out that the NRA is actually a clever business model disguised as a “civil rights” group.

      • I actually got into an argument when one called asking for more money and he actually said (when I brought up John Cornyns gun control bill) and I quote “I would hope a doctor would break privilege if my loved one was a danger to themselves”. I got angry and told them that they’re no friend to the second amendment or veterans and that they didn’t need any more of my money.

        • Well said Vitsaus

          The NRA is like the Humane Society for the Second Amendment. Both are expensive bureaucracies that hire expensive celebrities to say how great of an organization they are. Meanwhile behind closed doors both organizations have no qualms about helping to dispose of what they take membership dues for.

        • I like the ILA and contribute to it. PVF can suck eggs, they support candidates who wish to deny some of my OTHER rights. Support for specific candidates I will do myself, or not at all.

      • My Sept American Rifleman showed up today. I’ve been impressed by some of the issues as of late, but today’s left a bad taste.

        Between the always heavy advertising was a note about four guys inducted into their “Golden Ring of Freedom” which they claim is their top recognition for donors. They obfuscate that it is a way to recognize major donors, making it sound like these guys are American Heroes(TM). One is the pres of Ruger, which is fine. The other three are the guy that sells the chintzy “NRA special edition” guns, the lifelock guy who got his identity stolen because he was dumb enough to publicize his SSN, and one of those buffoons the pumped gold to unrealistic highs. Ugh.

        Even the MagPul article was just a long form ad.

  3. The Anti-gun groups never address the truth about these situations. It’s always answered with more restrictions, longer waiting, or closing a so-called loophole. None ever speak to cause or the human element, it’s always blaming the firearm. The anti-gun position is just this, anti-gun. The solutions are based in delusion, wishing somehow deranged humans no longer walk among us, and of those none choose violence when they act out. It’s fine to hate guns, but it’s not fine to push this hate upon lawful American’s who prefer to enjoy their 2A Rights. We already have laws which infringe on the 2A, we don’t need more.

    • GD right! Very well stated sir. The vehement hatred of the Second Amendment, of guns, and the idiocy of not wanting to exercise “that one” essential American Right drives me to near full froth when discussing firearms with my left leaning family members, course my brother in law from Virginia and I discuss it ad nauseum 😉

  4. to prevent bureaucratic glitches

    Or (need I say it?) “Strategic Incompetence.” The 3 day limit is not a loophole. It’s the patch over a loophole, the loophole that would allow the federal government to deny 2nd Amendment rights without due process of law.

  5. A much better protection of gun rights would be no background check. I wanna order a full auto Thompson from Sears and ups to my front door.

  6. The NRA should be pushing to eliminate so called “background checks”. This is a right we’re talking about not a privilege we have to ask permission for. They’re also a mere inconvenience (if that) to violent criminals. They say it won’t go anywhere. OK. Neither is national reciprocity for the last 10 years but they keep trying and one day it may be signed into law. You can’t yield to these horrible statist tyrants. Any “gun control” is unacceptable. Until bearable machine guns can be delivered to your door, the right to keep arms is infringed.

    • The NRA will never push to do so, because they think the background check is a good idea. They brag about it, and not in the sense of “we held them to this when they wanted a waiting period.” Anyone who thinks that is their attitude needs to find where they explicitly say that (rather than reading it in to what they actually do say).

  7. We’ve seen how the non-agency BATF (aka F-Troop) can obfuscate and delay the processing of NFA applications. Now imagine what the FBI could do if the 3-day cap was removed and an administrative directive that states a politically acceptable minimum processing time was allowed.

  8. If you think three days is bad, here in California it is 10 days, no exceptions, even if you have a CHL/CCW, even if you already own guns, and even if the State DOJ clears you in five minutes. (Which is usual for those with CCWs.) After all, you might commit a crime in that ten day period! Or something. The law was actually enacted to allow the state sufficient time to process the BGC, but it has become instead a mandatory waiting period, despite the original intent of the law, since it makes no sense to prohibit the transfer when the BGC is completed.It came as something of a welcome surprise when a federal trial court held that holding a gun after the BGC was completed was unconstitutional, and even less surprising that the DOJ appealed.

  9. The NRA is proud of the background check.

    If they took the attitude that the instant check was a deal they had worked to avoid a two week waiting period, it was the best they could do at the time, I could be sympathetic. Instead, they brag about it as if it was their idea to institute background checks. (Read it carefully, and do NOT fill in the blanks with what you hope they mean but aren’t saying explicitly.)

    The NRA is not 2A absolutist by any stretch of the imagination.

  10. What does the word “instant” in National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) mean?
    The system was set up so the vast majority of the checks would take minutes. The three day period is for the outliers. Why did Roof get a gun? First, the data wasn’t entered. Second, the researcher didn’t do his job. Third, Roof tried to buy the gun on Saturday and was able to pick it up the following Thursday. That’s five days (3 business days).
    Why not upgrade the “instant” system?

  11. Never had a delay(other than the absurd 3 day wait in Illinois) but I got a nasty remark when I dared buy 2 guns within 3 days. Which may be why I don’t do business with that gun shop(and this was just a transfer from Indiana)…and the NRA is the 800 pound primate-no lefttard speaks of any other group…

  12. Step 1: extend 3 day release to infinite.

    Step 2: Institute universal background checks.

    Step 3: de-fund NICS so background checks are impossible. No more legal gun sales or trades.

  13. Imagine the negative marketing and PR implications if a sporting goods store like Gander or Bass Pro acquiesced to Moms Demand Action demands to refuse sales. When the word got out (to firearms enthusiasts and prospective buyers), I believe their firearms sales would PLUMMET.

    • Bass Pro should be out of business based on their prices alone. Guns, ammo, and reloading equipment are 10 to 50% higher than Cabelas, Sportsmans Warehouse, and many LGS around here. Amazing there are enough people who don’t price check or know enough about average pricing on the items they buy to know better.

  14. Hey look, both my senators signed the letter to Bass Pro Shops. What a surprise, worthless politicians they are.

  15. On thing they could do is alow a dealer to run a check a few days before you go to the store. I really hate having to make two trips.

  16. “… in 2014, “The NICS Section forwarded 2,511 firearm retrieval referrals to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,”

    OK, I read all responses, did not see anyone asking what happened to those 2,511 “retrieval referrals” and the “prohibited persons in possession” they were to be served on? The delivery/acceptance of the firearm, the 4473, the handling prior to sale, all are 5 years in federal prison, each. Probably many more offenses, like most are convicted felons in possession. HOW MANY ARE IN PRISON?

    If the answer, as I suspect, is zero, why do we still have a NICS system, or an ATF for that matter? The law is not enforced, why do we have the law and the enforcement agency?

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