Seeking to “close gaps in operational capabilities” and meet critical requirements, the FBI has asked for $4.2 million for its 2020 budget to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for firearm checks and meet new requirements in the Fix NICS Act.
The annual number of the NICS firearm background checks for gun permits was at the highest level since 2016, Wray said.
This soaring demand to buy guns led to last year’s Black Friday holiday sales translating into background checks for more than 182,000 firearms—becoming one of the highest volume days for gun-permit purchase requests in NICS history.
According the Halvorsen, nearly 70 percent of all NICS transactions that the FBI handles “result in no descriptive matches or hits to the potential transferee against information contained in the three national databases.” However that percentage may change once more information is processed through the background check system according to FIX NICS Act requirements.
Under its budget request for 2020, the FBI wants to add 40 new jobs to the NICS system. Under the current background check system, NICS provides one of these responses:
Proceed (a firearm transaction can go forward to a person),
Deny (the person cannot have a firearm), or
Delay (more research is needed for a final decision because the information supplied by the prospective firearm transferee matched a record searched by the NICS). After a delay, if the transaction is not resolved within the required three-business-day time frame, a Federal Firearms License holder can use discretion about whether to transfer the firearm.