New enhanced background checks prevent 500+ illegal firearm purchases, says Justice Department

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and Enhanced Firearm Background Checks

Introduction:

On June 25, 2022, President Biden enacted the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), a comprehensive legislation aimed at addressing gun violence.

Among its provisions, the BSCA mandates enhanced background checks by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for individuals under the age of 21 (U21) seeking to purchase or transfer firearms.

Enhanced Background Checks Implementation:

Since the implementation of the BSCA’s enhanced background checks in October 2022, the FBI NICS Section has scrutinized over 200,000 transactions.

These checks involve an extended outreach, collaborating with state and local officials who may possess additional disqualifying information beyond the traditional databases.

Impact of Enhanced Background Checks:

The results of the enhanced background checks are noteworthy.

More than 1,900 firearms have been prevented from falling into the hands of dangerous and prohibited persons.

Notably, 527 denials were solely based on information obtained through the additional outreach required by the BSCA.

Attorney General’s Statement:

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland commended the effectiveness of the BSCA, stating that in the 19 months since its passage, the expanded background checks have thwarted 500 firearms from reaching young individuals prohibited from possessing them.

He emphasized the Justice Department’s commitment to combatting gun violence in communities.

Case Examples of U21 Denials:

The 500th BSCA-specific U21 denial, recorded on Dec. 18, 2023, involved a prospective purchaser revealed as an unlawful user of a controlled substance, thanks to records provided by a state police officer.

Other exemplary denials include cases of felony convictions, active court-ordered firearm restrictions, mental health adjudications, and pending charges for serious offenses.

Continued Outreach and Education:

Recognizing the importance of collaboration, the FBI continues to engage in extensive education and outreach efforts.

Over 500 law enforcement agencies and more than 2,000 state criminal justice officials have participated in training sessions, highlighting the significance of state and local partnerships in the success of enhanced background checks.

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