In some states the spike in gun sales is being met with the expected slowdown in NICS background check processing. According to an employee at a gun store in Colorado – yes, I’m leaving his name out of this but he’s a friend of mine – their current delay on background checks is almost two full days with thousands of people waiting in the queue:
Colorado’s background checks system is experiencing massive delays. What usually takes five to ten minutes is now taking 1 day plus 23 hours [a number that’s steadily rising]. The queue is now over 3500 applicants.
Gun sales in Colorado go through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Department of Public Safety Firearms InstaCheck Unit. They posted the following message to their website on March 16, 2020:
As you’re well aware, due to the extreme volume of firearms background checks being requested, CBI InstaCheck is experiencing longer than normal wait times. The CBI InstaCheck Unit appreciates your patience as technicians process requests as quickly as possible.
Other states, like Nevada, are experiencing delays that aren’t quite as dramatic. Nevada’s checks go directly to the Nevada Department of Public Safety which searches state and federal databases (including NICS).
Gun writer Mike Searson, who has a great piece up on Recoil about current sales trends, told me there was a six hour delay in Nevada background checks as of 4 PM local time.
And then there are spots like Wisconsin. Scott Schoenherr, owner of Bull’s Eye Sports Shop in Marshfield, Wisconsin said they’ve only experienced minor delays so far:
Slowdowns seem to be worse certain days. What used to be ten minutes is now twenty minutes.
So while technically that’s a delay in Wisconsin, it’s just a minor one. That might be because if you’re in the Dairy State buying a handgun your background check goes to the Wisconsin DOJ Firearms Unit. Long guns go directly to NICS. Looks like Wisconsin is the place to be for getting background checks handled in a timely manner right now.
Here in Texas things are ticking on pretty much as usual as far as how long background checks for gun sales take (at least at the gun stores I’ve spoken with).
Washington State must be mentioned here. As their restrictions have tightened and they become more more California-esque, they started sending background checks to local LE agencies.
Originally LE was given ten days to complete checks which is already a ridiculous amount of time, but now I’m told the wait has stretched to a best-case scenario of 3 weeks. By the time those people get their guns, either the worst will have passed or the worst will just be getting here and buyers won’t be able to go to their local gun store to pick it up.
Moral of the story? Yes, you should have bought sooner. At the same time, it’s great to see a spike in gun sales with all the first-time buyers. I hope all of those proud new gun owners value their gun rights and get the training to go with their new pew-pews. Hey, I can hope.