Press Release

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2006

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

FBI Releases Annual Report Highlighting 2005 Accomplishments of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)


Washington, D.C. - The FBI today released its annual report on the performance of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which is designed to screen prospective firearms transferees for criminal record history information. NICS was implemented by the FBI in 1998 as mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. NICS is maintained and operated out of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division in Clarksburg, WV. In 2005, NICS produced many achievements in furtherance of its mission by identifying, developing, and implementing system improvements to enhance its overall effectiveness. The FBI is committed to providing timely and accurate determination of firearms and explosives eligibility for prospective transferees. The following information highlights several of the NICS’ achievements in 2005:

  • From NICS inception on November 30, 1998, through December 31, 2005, a total of 62,060,717 background checks have been conducted.
  • The Explosives Background Check Process was implemented by the NICS Section in February 2003. As of December 31, 2005, a total of 116,010 explosives background checks have been processed by the NICS Section.
  • In 2005, the NICS Index was increased by an additional 295,835 record entries. From NICS program inception through December 31, 2005, the NICS Index has witnessed an increase in the number of readily available federally-prohibiting records by approximately 325 percent. As of December 31, 2005, approximately 3,960,682 prohibiting records were maintained in the NICS Index.
  • The NICS Section achieved a 91.47 percent Immediate Determination Rate (IDR) for 2005, thus meeting its goal of maintaining a 90 percent or better IDR.
  • As of December 31, 2005, the NICS Section had obtained over 547,000 dispositions for updating to criminal history records; forwarded over 15,270 documents to state authorities for record maintenance at the state level; and scanned over 100,000 criminal history documents for supplemental use with future background check transactions.
  • On November 1, 2005, the 60 millionth background check was initiated via the NICS and processed by the NICS Section.

The Voluntary Appeal File (VAF) allows the NICS Section to maintain information pertaining to non-prohibited persons to assist in the timely review and determination of a person’s eligibility to receive firearms. As of December 31, 2005, there were 782 successful entries in the VAF database. In 2005, a total of 297 VAF participants were able to receive a firearm without experiencing a lengthy delay or denial.

A copy of the 2005 NICS report can be found on the FBI web site at hq/cjisd/nics/ops_report2005/ops_report2005.pdf.

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