Through the COVID-19 fiasco, the firearm industry, like many others, is being impacted. Impacts include delays within the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) System.
The NICS staff experienced more than a 300% increase compared to this same time period in 2019. Wait times have increased from between five and eight minutes to two days.
As we’ve seen in the past with other national events, people often take advantage of their Second Amendment rights during times of uncertainty.
While much of the NICS System is automated and yields an immediate “proceed” or “deny” determination, transactions that result in a delayed status require the work of NICS examiners to investigate whether the transaction should be approved. With daily volumes roughly double that of last year, the NICS team is unable to begin investigations on all delays within three business days, creating a backlog in the delayed checks.
Some states offices and agencies are considering options to protect the health and safety of their employees, which may include a reduction in staff or a temporary closure.
The NICS Section is working overtime to get through the backlog, and we appreciate their hard work and open communication. FFLs need to know that the FBI is on the job and working diligently to address the dramatic response and increase in background checks experienced over the past few days.