Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 20, 2004

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

The FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) processed the 50 millionth transaction at 11:24 a.m. on September 20, 2004. The transaction was processed at the FBI NICS Section in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

This transaction originated from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) in Texas. The individual had an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault, which was posted on the National Crime Information Center System on September 19, 2004. An FBI NICS employee contacted the Sheriff's Office who verified the warrant was active. The individual has been arrested previously on various charges including aggravated kidnaping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The NICS was established as a result of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 and has been in existence since November 30, 1998. The NICS is utilized by FFLs to conduct background checks on potential purchasers or possessors of firearms. The FFLs contact the NICS Call Center or Point Of Contact states to initiate a background check. The purpose of the background check is to search for the existence of a prohibitor that would disqualify a potential purchaser or possessor pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 922, (g) or (n) or state law. There are nine federal prohibitors, in addition to various state prohibitors, that would disqualify a potential purchaser or possessor. The NICS is a name check system only. Descriptive data provided by a prospective firearms purchaser or possessor is searched and verified against the records contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III), and the NICS Index.

There have been a total of 378,986 potential purchasers denied by the FBI NICS Section since November 30, 1998. The majority of the denials (333,982) were due to the potential purchasers/possessors having criminal histories such as felony convictions, domestic violence convictions, and drug abuse. Additional prohibitive criteria includes but is not limited to Fugitives from Justice (13,147), Illegal/Unlawful Aliens (4,429) and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (16,867).

The FBI NICS Section continually strives to improve the immediate response rate to FFLs regarding subject eligibility. In 2004, the FBI NICS Section maintained an immediate determination rate of approximately 92 percent. The remaining eight percent requires further research. Because of this response rate, an overwhelming majority of firearm background checks processed by the FBI NICS Section are resolved while the FFL is still on the telephone.