October 7th, 2013

NICS Background Checks Available Despite Federal Shutdown

FBI NICS logo shield instant background check systemPlanning to buy a gun soon, and worried about the effect of the Federal government shutdown? Many government services have been temporarily terminated (and Federal facilities closed). However, the background check system for firearms purchases is still up and running. The NSSF reports that The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Section is remaining fully operational and maintaining normal business hours. Accordingly, if you go to a gun store to purchase a firearm, the shop should be able to run a NICS background check in normal fashion.

However, some other firearms-related services of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been halted for the time being. The ATF’s Office of Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS), which includes the imports, firearms technology, NFA branches, and the licensing center and firearms industry programs branch now processing marking variances, is effectively shut down, operating only with minimal staff.

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