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Certain gun purchases to be ‘delayed’ starting next week

Store managers show a customer ammo at the Get Loaded gun store on June 30, 2016, in Grand Terrace, Calif. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
November 07, 2022

The FBI posted a notice on its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), notifying gun dealers to expect delays in background checks for purchasers under the age of 21, starting on Nov. 14.

Bearing Arms first reported on the upcoming NICS processing delays, after a federal firearms license (FFL) dealer contact shared with the publication a letter sent by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF letter let the FFL dealer know that it has been revising it’s process for gun purchasers between the age of 18 and 20 since the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) of 2022 passed in June.

A message also now appears on the FBI’s NICS E-check site which states:

As a result of the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) of 2022, signed into law on June 25, 2022, the NICS Section has been working towards the implementation of an enhanced background check process for persons between the ages of 18-20. The enhancement provides the opportunity for additional outreach and research to be conducted regarding the existence of any juvenile adjudication information and/or mental health prohibition. As a result, transactions on persons between the ages of 18-20 will initially be delayed and the address of the individual will be collected so that the appropriate local and state entities may be contacted. The enhanced process will begin on November 14, 2022, for all transactions on persons under the age of 21 as previously described. Checks on persons under the age of 21 could be extended for a period up to ten business days. Therefore, it is possible for an FFL to be contacted with an updated Brady Transfer Date. As a temporary measure and until the NICS can be updated to provide this information electronically, NICS staff will be calling FFLs to advise of any change in the transfer date. In preparation for calls from NICS, you will be asked to verify your license number and code word. You may wish to have this information readily available for you and your staff.

All descriptive information, including address, will follow normal purge requirements (i.e., deleted from NICS within 24 hours of the FFL receiving a proceed status.) Please note, if no potentially prohibiting information is located, the transaction will be proceeded as soon as possible.

The BSCA is the largest federal gun control bill to be signed into law in the past 30 years. Among its provisions are requirements for a more extensive background check process for purchasers between 18 and 20 years old. The expanded process would entail searches for state and local-level juvenile and mental health records for potential gun buyers under the age of 21. This expanded background check process could delay gun purchases for those under 21 by up to 10 days.

The new gun control law also included provisions incentivizing states to pass so-called “red flag” gun confiscation orders. These “red flag” laws, which are also commonly referred to as extreme risk protective orders, allows a court to order the confiscation of a person’s firearms if a judge determines that person poses a risk to themselves or others.