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May 15, 2020

Department Asks Congress for More Resources

By Larry Keane

In these uncertain times, it’s no surprise that firearm sales are up. That’s why the NSSF is working to promote the safe use and storage of guns and ammunition and to provide guidance for our members on operating under these unique conditions.

But our work as the firearm and ammunition trade association doesn’t end there. We are also actively seeking more resources for the federal agencies that our members rely on to ensure they are selling firearms to legal, law-abiding citizens. This includes making sure that FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is quickly able to process background checks for our retailers. Due to the high volume of checks in recent weeks, coupled with state and local offices working with reduced staffing or a remote workforce, NICS has struggled to address a backlog of delayed checks and the investigations necessary to resolve them within the statutory three business days that retailers must wait for a determination, before they are allowed to transfer the firearm. As an industry, we want NICS to be able to do their job and help us keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Gun control advocates in the U.S. Senate sent a letter to the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives urging them to ignore the law instead of providing these agencies the funding they need. Twenty-eight senators, though, thought it more practical to ask these agencies what resources they need to ensure Americans can purchase firearms without interruption.

It’s encouraging to see that we are not alone in this effort. The Department of Justice has recently reached out to Congress to ask for resources to support NICS with the growing volume of checks, as well as asking for more resources and personnel for the enforcement duties of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Naturally, House Democrats didn’t prioritize the safety of our communities when they proposed the most recent stimulus package. However, that package is not expected to be taken up by the Senate.

NSSF remains committed to advocating for the resources these agencies need to help our members stay in business and keep our communities safe.

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Tags: DOJ funding NICS

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