The government’s response to the Corona Virus has affected — if not devastated — millions of businesses. But one sector is not suffering: gun sales.
The FBI posted today on the department website that handles background checks to say that they are facing unprecedented number of background checks.
These background checks are conducted by the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System or NICS. Because they’re a government office, the NICS system only works if their offices are staffed. Right now, that’s not a certainty, as more and more offices are closing or reducing hours. No staff to run NICS, no background checks at all.
The FBI website said:
Meanwhile, other sources have said that background checks are up 300% on Monday alone, after already hitting record highs in almost every metric all year.
But this backlog means that gun stores running background checks are experiencing extensive wait times. Checks that used to take five minutes are now taking days to process.
If your background check flags for any reason –and remember that John Lott estimates that 99% of the background checks that fail are false positives–then you’re going to wait weeks. Right now, the FBI is telling those whose background checks didn’t automatically approve that they’ll be waiting roughly 28 days. The staff that normally looks into why a check has not passed are obviously swamped with all the backlogged checks–if they’re even working at all thanks to staffing cuts.
An Idea Whose Time Has Passed
This is why the entire NICS system is a joke. Inefficient, inaccurate, and now unavailable when America’s worried citizens need it more than ever.
But a “Fix” won’t help. What they really need to do is admit that with staggeringly high false positives and no documentation that it’s prevented a fraction of the crimes they claimed, NICS should go on the trash heap.
One silver lining of this Corona insanity is a chance to see what’s dead weight in our government. It’s obvious that the NICS branch could use some serious pruning.