Newly implemented measures also mandate that the FBI pass on the personal information to local law enforcement.
As part of a sweeping change that has gun rights groups alarmed, federally licensed firearms dealers (FFLs) are now required to provide the FBI with the personal addresses of individuals whose attempted purchases were denied.
In turn, the FBI must now provide details of the failed transactions — not only those denied but also those just delayed — and the personal information of the rejected individuals to local law enforcement, raising fears of greater government infringement on the Second Amendment.
The changes were quietly implemented last week by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to comply with new federal law. NICS was established to determine if an individual is prohibited by law from receiving firearms and can either approve, deny, or delay a firearms purchase.
In March, Congress passed and President Biden signed a massive appropriations package for fiscal year 2022 that included the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act (VAWA). Tucked into the VAWA was a bipartisan measure called the NICS Denial Notification Act, which mandates that the FBI’s NICS Section alert state and local law enforcement of all denied attempts to purchase a firearm within 24 hours.
The stated purpose of the bill is to stop criminals and prevent gun crimes before they happen.
The FBI elaborated on how the law will be implemented in an email obtained by Gun Owners of America.
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 email reads. “The FBI must provide notification to law enforcement based upon the location of the FFL and if different, the purchaser’s address.
The email also explained that FFLs must provide the addresses of purchasers to the feds.
“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 message continued. “The address information will be required before the status can be provided or retrieved either by the NICS contracted call center or via the NICS E-Check.”
Previously, firearms dealers were only required to provide the state of residence of a customer rather than their full address in the event of a delay or denial.
Gun rights groups have expressed outrage at the changes, arguing they lay the groundwork for a registry of potential gun owners maintained by the federal government.
“The NICS process was never intended to hinder the ability of law-abiding firearms consumers by requiring the forced collection of unnecessary personal consumer data in bulk,” Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works, said in a press release. “Neither the ATF nor the FBI can act beyond authority of Congress and violate the Constitution by furthering the ultimate goal of creating an illegal firearms owner database.”
Gun rights advocates have also noted the new law doesn’t actually require the reporting of addresses for delays.
“What the law actually says and how FFLs are being told they must implement it are totally different,” said attorney Emily Taylor on the Armed Attorneys podcast. “The implementation is far broader than the law itself — and of course very, very bad news for gunowners, because who wants their address shot out to local law enforcement because you’re trying to buy a gun.”
Cargill called for the feds to remove from their interpretation of the law their language regarding delays, arguing it “exceeds the scope of the plain language of the NICS Denial Notification Act” and “the constitutional rights of a customer’s privacy are being violated by extending this reporting requirement to delayed customers.”
Delays by NICS require the retailer to pause the transaction for three business days, allowing NICS more time to research the individual in question.
The FBI is supposed to follow up with law enforcement if someone is erroneously delayed or denied.
One concern among gun rights advocates is the Biden administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for gun dealers that willfully violate the law. Officials have warned FFLs will have their licenses revoked if they try to skirt the law.
According to critics, however, FFLs are increasingly at risk of losing their licenses as regulations get more complex and dealers become more likely to inadvertently violate the law.
“If you create more and more complex rules that the FFLs have to follow, they will mess up, which means they’re licenses will get yanked,” said Taylor.
Just the News reached out to both the FBI and the ATF for comment for this story. The ATF referred Just the News to the FBI, which didn’t respond.
This article was originally published by Just the News on 10/4/2022. To view the original article, click here.