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June 29, 2015

Assisting Customers Who Have Been Denied/Delayed by NICS


The FBI and ATF have informed NSSF that both agencies have been realizing a higher-than-normal volume of calls by consumers who have received denials or extensive delays from the NICS system. This rise in calls does not have a corresponding rise in actual denials or approval delays, rather there seems to be an increase in retailers advising customers who have experienced a denial or approval delay to call NICS in seeking a resolution. Such phone calls do not provide a resolution to the consumer’s concerns so, in an effort to aid retailers and improve their customer relations, the FBI has provided us with the following information.

The NICS is a descriptor-based name search. If a customer believes they have been erroneously denied or is experiencing an extended delay, they may submit a request to the FBI or other appropriate agency that appeals the denial or delayed decision. Retailers should provide customers who wish to make such an appeal with an NICS Resolution Card, which explains how an individual would initiate an appeal request to the FBI or other appropriate agency.

Due to the Privacy Act of 1974, the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division’s NICS Section cannot release the reason for the denial or delay response over the phone. FFLs should not encourage their customers to call either NICS customer service or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as neither will be able to provide an individual with verbal information relating to their case. Instead, and in addition to providing customer with the NICS Resolution Card, the FBI encourages its retailers to guide these consumer to the NICS Appeal website, which was established to help NICS denied and delayed appellants negotiate the appeal process

FFLS needing a supply of NICS Resolution Cards should visit the NICS Federal Firearms Licensee website here and order the quantity they require.