An FBI email suggests the powerful federal agency is stepping up the collection of information on American gun purchasers.
An agency memorandum reportedly sent to a gun dealer explains changing requirements for Federal Firearms Licensees — businesses licensed to sell guns commercially — pursuant to the NICS Denial Notification Act of 2022.
The pro-Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America obtained the FBI guidance on Wednesday.
The new law, signed by President Joe Biden in March as part of a $1,5 trillion spending bill, requires the FBI to provide local law enforcement information on gun buyers who are flagged by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as ineligible to purchase a firearm.
“To support the determination of what local agency should receive the notification, FFLs will be required to provide the buyer’s complete address to NICS as recorded on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473 when transactions are denied or delayed,” the FBI states in the email.
Previously, FFLs only had to report the state of residence of a customer who failed a background check. Under the FBI’s interpretation of the law, the bureau will now have to provide a full address — which will in turn be provided to local law enforcement.
The policy, as it pertains to FFLs, doesn’t just apply to those who are denied a gun purchase as a result of NICS background check. It also applies to gun buyers who are “delayed.”
The FBI has the power to implement a three-day freeze on a gun transaction under NICS’ delay powers. This is used in theory for the agency to conduct a background check and verify if a purchaser is or isn’t legally permitted to own a gun.
If the federal government doesn’t tell a Federal Firearms Licensee to deny a transaction within three days, federal law clears the dealer to go ahead with the firearm sale.
Many gun purchasers who face an NICS delay have every legal right to own and buy a firearm.
Delays can be spurred by legal factors such as common last names or a security clearance with the federal government, according to Gun Owners of America.
Data obtained by the National Shooting Sports Foundation indicate that 54 percent of delayed NICS checks that are resolved within the standard 72-hour window end with a denial.
NICS delays are even less likely to end with a denial after the three-day hold, with only 12 percent of delayed purchasers facing an outright denial at this stage.
The FBI is likely to obtain addresses and information on a large pool of legal gun owners under the current policy.
It’s not entirely clear what will happen to the personal information of “delayed” gun buyers who ultimately get their firearms.
The FBI states that it’s obligated to provide address information to local law enforcement in the event of an outright denial, whereas FFLs must provide the information to the FBI in the event of both a denial or a delay.
“The NICS Denial Notification Act of 2022 requires the FBI’s NICS Section to notify state, local or tribal law enforcement of all FBI NICS denied transactions within 24 hours,” the guidance states.
It’s far from unprecedented for legal gun buyers to face unlawful denials of gun purchases, as well. Data obtained by Gun Owners of America indicated that 27.7 percent of gun buyers who appealed NICS Denials were successful in overruling the FBI.
FFLs are also required to verify if gun buyers meet state-specific age requirements in the event they’re purchasing the weapon in a different state from the one they reside in, under the new guidance.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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