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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

ATTENTION

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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