Demand for Guns Overwhelming FBI Background Check System

gun background check AP

The current demand for guns in America is so great that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) is giving a higher number of delays and, in many cases, allowing the sale to be completed because time for the check expires.

A NICS check is designed to take only minutes, ideally being “instant.” However, there are cases where the FBI reviewers do not immediately find the records they need so they have an option to delay the check, giving reviewers three business days to complete it. If, after three days, they still have not found incriminating records on the would-be buyer, the sale is allowed to proceed.

This means there are three possible outcomes to an NICS check: 1. Pass (good to go). 2. Delay (three business days added for check). 3. Fail (can either occur instantly or during the three day extended review).

Reuters reported there was a “54 percent increase in the number of background checks that were delayed past three days in … March through July.” And over five percent of those delays lasted longer than three days.

Overall, the number of NICS checks conducted March 2020 through July 2020 was up 93 percent, when compared to the same time period in 2019.

Breitbart News reported that August was the eighth consecutive month for record background checks for gun sales. Beginning with January 2020 and proceeding through August, each month has set a record for the most checks conducted in its respective month.

For example, January 2020 set the all-time record for background checks in the month of January, February 2020 set the record for the most checks in the month of February, March 2020 the most for the month of March, and so on.

Breitbart News reported National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) figures showing there were nearly five million first-time gun buyers who made purchases amid the surge in retail gun sales, January 2020 through July 2020. Many of these purchasers were from demographics the establishment media does not typically tie to gun purchases.

Yahoo Sports reported that NSSF isolated and examined the first six months of 2020 and found that gun purchases by black men and women were up 58 percent over what they were during the first six months of 2019.

Forbes reported that the Department of Justice responded to the surge in gun sales by requesting “more enforcement resources” in May. That request included asking for “more staff to help conduct background checks.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at You can sign up to get Down Range at


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