FixNICS law bill Fix NICS
Courtesy NSSF
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FixNICS was signed into law in March of 2018 by President Trump. Its intended purpose is to get more relevant individual information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This became a priority after the Sutherland Springs shooting. In that case the shooter’s domestic violence conviction and involuntary commitment records hadn’t been entered into the FBI’s NICS system, allowing him to purchase the firearm he used in the mass murder.

We’ve pointed out, again and again, the inherent problems with the NICS system and folly of relying on it to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. FixNICS throws a lot of tax dollars at NICS in the hope of improvements, while raising questions about the law’s effect on individuals’ gun rights (errors, false denials), not least among them veterans.

As Gun Owners of America has pointed out . . .

…the FBI background check system has already falsely denied thousands of decent Americans who merely share the same names as bad guys, whose names are in the criminal system.

Current law requires the Attorney General to “immediately” fix these errors, but the “Fix NICS” bill (S. 2135) would extend the “immediately” standard to 60 days — with no sanctions against an anti-gun Attorney General for refusing to fix the erroneous information.

This is why the “Fix NICS” bill is only going to make existing problems worse for a lot of good Americans.

FixNICS requires the Attorney General to issue a semi-annual report on the effects of the law. Here’s AG Barr’s first report . . .

On Nov. 14, 2019, the Attorney General published and submitted to Congress the first semiannual report on the Fix NICS Act. The report, required by the Fix NICS Act passed by Congress in March 2018, reflects strong compliance with the Act and demonstrates renewed efforts at all levels of government to improve the sharing of records and information that are vital to the effective operation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

“An effective NICS system is critical to ensuring that we keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “I am encouraged by the results of this initial report. Fix NICS implementation is still in its infancy, yet already we’re seeing great strides being made across government – state, tribal, and federal law enforcement – to strengthen the NICS. Given the preliminary data, it is clear that the Fix NICS Act is well on its way to doing exactly what it was intended to do – make the NICS better.”

The NICS is a computerized system designed to help determine if a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving firearms by conducting a search of available relevant records. The databases searched by the NICS contain records with information relevant to the legal prohibitions against firearm possession and purchasing under both federal and state law. To function effectively, the NICS must have access to complete, accurate, and timely information submitted by relevant agencies in all levels of government across the country.

The 2018 Fix NICS Act was passed to encourage government agencies to improve their records submission processes and further strengthen the NICS. Under the Fix NICS Act:

  • Federal agencies:
    • must report certain record submission metrics to the Attorney General in semiannual certifications; and
    • must establish four-year implementation plans to improve records submissions.
  • States and tribal governments:
    • are incentivized with grant preferences to establish four-year implementation plans.
  • The Attorney General:
    • must publish and submit to Congress a semiannual report on federal agency compliance with the Act; and
    • must determine whether federal agencies, states, and Indian tribal governments have achieved substantial compliance with the benchmarks set out in their implementation plans.

Report Highlights:


  • 45 federal agencies submitted certifications and implementation plans
  • All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Indian tribal governments established implementation plans and
  • Another 44 federal agencies certified they do not have any relevant records

Early Results:

The efforts by federal agencies, states, and Indian tribal governments under the Act are already paying off. Between April 2018 and August 2019:

  • There was an increase of over six million records in the three national databases searched with every NICS check—a 6.2 percent increase. In addition, there was a 15 percent increase in records in one of those databases, the NICS Indices.
  • The number of Firearm Retrieval Referrals (FRRs) (where a prohibited person is able to purchase a firearm because the background check could not be concluded within three business days due to incomplete records) decreased each month in comparison to the same month during the previous year, for an average monthly decline of 102 FRRs.
  • With the exception of June 2018, there was an increase in the percentage of NICS checks resulting in an immediate determination (not requiring a delay for further research) compared to the previous year. Specifically, there was an average increase of 0.51 percent for each month when compared with the same month of the previous year.
Graph on Fix NICS
  • From May 2019 through July 2019, the military branches enhanced their record reporting by increasing entries into the Controlled Substance category by 10 percent, with an overall increase in multiple categories of 2.63 percent.
  • The U.S. Customs and Border Protection entered approximately 13 million illegal or unlawful alien records into the NICS Indices in October 2019.

Although the implementation plans have been in place for just a few months, these early indicators are encouraging. As the plans are executed over the next several years, the Department of Justice expects to see a real and lasting positive impact on NICS records and operations.

The complete report can be accessed here:


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  1. “States and tribal governments:

    are incentivized with grant preferences to establish four-year implementation plans.”

    The tribes are incentivized to “snitch out” their own members?

  2. The idea that the harder you squeeze/control the poorer the retention/result seems to continually elude our lawmakers and those that have too much faith in their judgement.

    David Codrea suggested a system that covers the “denied” parties, rather than the “approved” parties and, as a bonus, it would seem to make it more difficult to keep illegal records of purchases. But, hey, who wants to look at that? 8~(

  3. enter your SS# into the NICS check and you solve 99% of the problems associated with similar names, etc. Never had to wait more than 5 minutes to buy a gun.
    And I’ve bought a lot of guns.

    • BusyBeef,

      I have never had to wait more than 5 seconds (for the NICS check at federal firearm licensees). Quite literally, the instant that the seller finishes their last syllable providing my information to NICS, the NICS clerk issues the “proceed” order and away we go.

      I actually inquired about this a few days ago when I purchased a rifle at a sporting goods store since the salesman seemed to be surprised that he instantly got “proceed” from the NICS clerk on the phone. The salesmen had no explanation until I mentioned that I have a concealed carry license. At that point, he confirmed that background checks on people with concealed carry licenses seem to get instantaneous “proceed” declaration from NICS clerks. Methinks that NICS knows who has concealed carry licenses (and thus clean criminal records) which is why they seem to instantly approve sales.

      • Ditto. There is always so far, a “proceed” almost instantly. The longest wait ever was waiting for a “proceed” when the place did it on the web. Felt like forever, but it was seconds.

    • Include my SS# when I beg the government for permission to exercise my constitutionally protected human right? No, thanks. I don’t mind the occasional delay, since Illinois in its wisdom requires 72 hours “cool down” period anyways.

  4. NCIS check, such a waste of time. Fact is that criminals will get the guns they want because there is a market there that is already serving up black market firearms, not to mention drugs and human trafficking. It all goes together. The War on Drugs got the ball rolling and now that the infrastructure is there it is just another criminal way to make money.

    Get rid of the background check all together. There is nothing in the 2A that mentions “unless you are a convicted criminal, crazy or drug addled”. I think that it only says “shall not be infringed”.

    • “Get rid of the background check all together. There is nothing in the 2A that mentions “unless you are a convicted criminal, crazy or drug addled”. I think that it only says “shall not be infringed”.”

      Was going to post this, but you beat me to it. FixNICS, indeed. It’s unconstitutional to begin with.

      • From 5th Amendment: “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”. This means that liberty (right of the people to keep and near Arms) can be lost for those who have been legally adjudicated as criminal or insane.

        • Note, that doesn’t mean citizens should prove (and in some cases pay for the check) that they have not be properly stripped of their rights. It also doesn’t mean the check prevents those who have been properly stripped of their rights from illegally obtaining guns anyway.

        • No, Mouse, my point is that I should be told I can exercise my 2A-enumerated natural right only when I receive permission. If a prohibited person chooses to obtain a gun (which they do all the time, anyhow), that’s their problem between themselves and the government. Why am I being lumped into that problem?

          The foundational base of our American jurisprudence is the constitutional assumption of innocence. When any government (Federal, state, local) tells me I cannot exercise my natural right until I receive their permission, it’s in direct violation to that principle.

    • Actually the 2nd does talk about prohibited persons.
      Sort of..
      The ‘well regulated’ does not, as modern interpretations have incorrectly stated, have anything to do with regulations or laws.. it was a term in common use long before and after the writing of the constitution. It means ‘well behaved and law abiding’, as taken from other late 1700’s writings. So criminals and hooligans are not protected by the 2nd.

  5. Meh, meaningless to me. What matters to me is if my brand new sparkling shiny UPIN number does me a damn bit of good on my next purchase.

  6. …All Advanced Universal Background checks NEED to be tied into a US citizens normal life activities….Like Expanded Background checks for employment, buying groceries, seeking services, public transportation, traveling from state to state, political affiliations, acres to voting, etc…By the time its so over it should look a lot like The People’s Republic Of China’s Social Crediting System….So say’th YOUR Socialist Authoritarian control freak overlords…..

  7. Speaking of China’s Social Credit system, I just read an article yesterday that says tourists visiting China are screwed – because they can’t buy *anything* – including toilet paper. One tourist couldn’t get toilet paper out of the dispenser for that reason – so bring your own if you visit China.

    This is because virtually every business in China, even street stands, only take credit cards – not cash.

    Talk about your total surveillance society. China is proof that the “cashless society” is a surveillance nightmare. No credit card, you might as well be homeless living in a cave.

    Thank heavens the US has a robust criminal underground that requires cash to function. Plus our politicians are more corrupt and take cash for bribes. LOL

    • I think I read the same article and you are greatly exaggerating what it said (which is a slight exaggeration of reality).

      It is true that most people accept cashless payments, but most of those cashless payments are made through apps on your phone (much like apple pay or Google pay in the US). If the cashless payments were by credit card there would not be much of an issue for tourists but because it’s through an app most people can’t add foreign issued bank or credit cards (they are working on fixing this “problem”). I personally have not had any issues using cash anywhere to buy things in China and I keep looking for sellers who won’t take cash.

      And your comment about no cash for bribes is 100% wrong.

      This comment is based on my personal first hand experience living and working in China for more than 5 years.

    • If I was to ever visit china it sure as hell would not be as a tourist. Only way would be a military exercise. No tp no problems just use the right hand so when you shake hands you can give them something as a gift. Besides they, might like smelling an ugly American’s stinky old ass.

  8. Why would We The People want to “fix” treason? Our governments were expressly forbidden from interfering with our Constitutionally secured right in any way, shape or form. Does it make sense to let a potential enemy have control over whether or not you can be armed against them? Or for that potential enemy to have a record of who owns arms? So that they can use that to come round those arms up when they have all of their plans in place? And to those who claim that it can’t happen here; you are sorely ignorant of history.


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