5.56 Timeline

Delays On NICS Checks During Virus Panic Buying

The FBI wants FFLs to know that the current high gun buying volumes and shut-down-related background check delays extend the “Brady Transfer Date” hold time that dealers must observe when a purchase is put in delayed status.

FBI NICS E-Check Welcome Page


As the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Section works through the impact of the COVID-19 operationally, we are working to maintain our services. We are aware that states may be considering options to protect the health and safety of their employees, which may include a reduction in office availability or even closure to some offices.

Should a state choose to limit days of operation by completely closing state offices one or more days a week or even indefinitely, this could potentially impact the Brady Transfer Date (BTD) by changing the time in which an FFL can legally transfer a firearm in a delayed status. The NICS Section urges FFLs to be cognizant of the impact this may have to your day-to-day operations, and also to stress the importance of adhering to the BTD that is provided to you at the time a transaction is put into a Delay status. The Brady Act does not federally prohibit an FFL from transferring a firearm after the third business day expires, even if the NICS Section has been unable to provide a proceed response, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(1).

We appreciate your patience and partnership during this critical time and potential impact to NICS operations.

The NICS examiner will provide the FFL with the date of the third business day after the firearm check was initiated. Business days do not include the day the check was initiated, Saturdays, Sundays, and any day state offices in the state of purchase are closed. If the FFL has not received from the NICS a final determination after three business days have elapsed since the delay response, it is within the FFL’s discretion whether or not to transfer the firearm (if state law permits the transfer). If the FFL transfers the firearm, the FFL must mark “No resolution was provided within three business days” on line 21d of the ATF Form 4473. It is recommended the FFL record the date provided in the delay response on which the firearm may be lawfully transferred under federal law if a final determination of proceed or denied is not received from the NICS.

When a transaction is DELAYED, the NICS examiner begins extensive research on the potential prohibitor. Upon completion of the research when a definitive status is determined, the FFL is contacted and given a PROCEED or DENY decision on the firearm transaction.

If your purchase is held for some reason and is classified as “delayed,” it could be days or weeks before your retailer can release the firearm.

So much for the Brady Transfer Date rule.

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7 thoughts on “Delays On NICS Checks During Virus Panic Buying”

  1. In Illinois the wait times seems to have gone from a few days to possibly more than a week. I think its ridiculous to pay for a gun at a dealer then fill out a 4473 and have to wait over a week potentially to actually be able to pick up the gun. I’m sort of new to gun purchases, I inherited guns from my Dad who past away and got a FOID card to have for the ownership of the guns. I guess its a busy time for gun purchases with all that’s going on in the country right now. I can wait, no big hurry to have my gun, but I do feel if you promise a 3 day max wait for background check.. You need to make sure you have the resources to make good on that time frame.

  2. In Alabama they have three days to approve or not the purchase. After that the store will let you take your purchase. That’s the law so far. Actually if a person has a pistol permit they shouldn’t need any background check. They have already been vetted! Maybe in Trumps next term we can fix that.

    • its like that here in Ky. Most states had the 3 day with no denied and you can take the gun home. that isn’t a unique thing. I wouldn’t get my hopes up on trump doing jack shit to expand gun rights. I’d expect more gun laws under a trump second term.

  3. I think this a way to get waiting period. My gun order came to my FFL on Friday and it Got delayed but on the following Wed(3 buisiness days) it got approve. I do agree that if I have a CCW that they should be a able to check that it is vallid then you are checked. The Feds are slowly eroding our Gun Rights one small piece at a time. There is a bill in commitee right now that would put a 30% sales tax on firearm purchases and 50% sales tx on ammo purchases and require states that do not have it now, create a License program to buy guns.


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