According to USA Today: The surge of criminal background checks required of new gun purchasers has been so unrelenting in recent months that the FBI had been forced to temporarily halt the processing of thousands of appeals from prospective buyers whose firearm purchase attempts have been denied.
The NRA posted this about the topic: "As much as the Brady Campaign, Bloomberg’s Everytown, and the Obama administration contend that submitting oneself to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a fast and simple process that does not significantly burden lawful firearms transferees, the fact is that for many of Americans that simply isn’t true. Each year thousands of Americans are wrongfully denied their Second Amendment rights when NICS incorrectly determines that they are prohibited from firearm ownership. Compounding this grave injustice, this week the FBI made public that they have stopped processing NICS denial appeals.
News of this personnel shift comes on the heels of Barack Obama’s much-publicized executive actions on gun control. Included in these actions was an intent to “hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process [NICS] checks.” When asked about this action in a January 20hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Attorney General Loretta Lynch made clear that this plan would require some Congressional cooperation for funding, noting, “With respect to the 230, we do hope to begin hiring of that with using this fiscal year's appropriation. And then the 2017 request would allow us to maintain that.” Given the circumstances surrounding the public disclosure of the suspension of processing denial appeals, the personnel maneuver has the appearance of being a cynical bargaining chip in the pursuit of more resources.
It is important to understand the severe scope of the problem of erroneous denials, and thus the need for a well-functioning denial appeals process. FBI’s own informational materials provide evidence of the system’s potential for mistakes. The agency’s 2014 NICS operations report, for example, explains that a denial merely “indicates the prospective firearms transferee or another individual with a similar name and/or similar descriptive features was matched with either federally prohibiting criteria or state-prohibiting criteria.” In 2014, 90,895 federal NICS checks resulted in a denial. That same year, 4,411 NICS denials were later overturned through the appeals process, or close to 5 percent of total denials that year."
This is a major problem as the Constitution guarantees that an individual cannot be deprived of liberty without the due process of law. When the FBI, or any other arm of the state, deprives a citizen of their rights without due process it should be of great concern and the government should correct the error. While there has been a large increase in NICS checks in recent years, suspending the NICS appeals process is not an acceptable means of meeting new demand.
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