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NICS Update on April 16, 2012

NICS Update on April 16, 2012

Recent Process Changes at the NICS Contracted Call Centers

The Call Centers that support the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) take their duties and responsibilities to the FBI and the Federal Firearms Licensee community very seriously. They have a team dedicated to Quality Assurance (QA) to ensure that the services they provide are of exceptional quality. With that in mind, we wanted to make you aware of a new tool the NICS Call Centers will begin employing next week. The QA staff will now have the ability to not only listen in and observe their employees during NICS calls, but also to view the monitor screens as their Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) populate the NICS with the information provided by the FFL. If a discrepancy is detected, the QA staff will have the ability to join the call to rectify the situation. Doing so benefits the NICS Section and the FFLs because it decreases instances of a NICS check having to be re-ran with corrected data and also decreases instances of you, as the FFL, having to retrieve your documentation to notate the change. If the QA staff should become involved in the call, the FFL will hear something similar to the following: “Sir/Ma’am, for quality assurance purposes, I would like to interrupt this call and briefly place you on hold. May I place you on hold?” It is important to the NICS Section that we keep you apprized of any processing changes that may impact your experience with the NICS. If you have any questions on this communication or anything relative to the NICS, please contact the NICS FFL Liaison Specialist at (304) 625-7387.

New FFL-Dedicated Websitewww.fbi.gov/nics-ffl

This website was developed with the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) in mind. Have questions or need additional information about the NICS process? The FFL-dedicated website is where to go. Once on the website, the FFL will have access to a wealth of information on FFL Enrollment, the NICS E-Check Process, Appeals, the Voluntary Appeal File (VAF) Process, the FFL NICS User’s Manual, and more. Try it out and make it a desktop shortcut.

New FFL-Dedicated E-mailnicsffl@leo.gov

This e-mail address was developed for the FFL to contact the NICS FFL Liaison with questions and/or concerns pertaining to the NICS Background Check process. Also, the NICS Section will send out update messages via this e-mail. Be added to the mailing list by simply sending a request to nicsffl@leo.gov and ask to receive update messages from the NICS Section.

NICS Resolution Card for Your Extended Delayed or Denied Customers:

The NICS Section has noticed an increased propensity for a denied or delayed customer to be unsure about the best avenue to pursue when receiving extended delays or denied responses from their NICS background check. In reply, the NICS Resolution Card has been created. The purpose of this card is two-fold: (1) to define the most appropriate action for the customer to pursue; and (2) to educate and encourage customers to utilize the NICS website. Customers who initiate their inquiry through the NICS website will experience an improved user-friendly, streamlined process. The NICS Resolution Card can also be viewed on the NICS FFL website. To have the NICS Resolution Cards mailed to you, call the NICS Customer Service at 1-877-FBI-NICS (324-6427).

NICS Informational Videos

The NICS Process In Motion: The NICS Section is always open to suggestions and comments. A suggestion was made by an FFL to make an animated video/flow chart for the FFL user to guide them through the NICS process. This animated video does exactly that. The “NICS Process In Motion” video walks the FFL and their employees through the NICS background check process and provides other valuable information. View the “NICS Process In Motion” video at the FFL-dedicated website or call the FFL NICS Liaison Specialist at 1-877-FBI-NICS (324-6427), extension 57387.

The VAF Process Video: This video has been developed for the customers who experience constant or extended delays. The VAF Process Video may be viewed at the NICS homepage www.fbi.gov/nics at NICS Links/Appeal/Voluntary Appeal File Process Video or http://www.fbi.gov/news/videos/mp4/nics-appeal.mp4/view.

Two Is Better than One–Enroll with the NICS and the NICS E-Check

When an FFL enrolls with the NICS Section, they are automatically enrolled to conduct their NICS background checks via the telephone with the NICS Contracted Call Centers. What if there was another option? The NICS Section has a solution. A simple enrollment is all it takes to be able to add the ability to conduct your NICS background checks via the Internet with the NICS E-Check. In addition, the FFL does not have to be a computer wiz to complete a NICS E-Check transaction. Visit the NICS FFL website and check out all the NICS E-Check enrollment information.

General NICS Reminders for the FFL

NICS Cannot Provide Your Customer the Reason For Their Delay or Denial Over the Phone

Due to the Privacy Act of 1974, the NICS Section cannot provide the reason for your customer’s delay or denial over the telephone. If a prospective transferee has had extended delays or has been denied the transfer of a firearm, the FFL should give the individual a NICS Resolution Card. The FFL should circle the word DELAY or DENIED on the top portion of the card and write the NICS Transaction Number on the line provided on the bottom portion of the card. The NICS Resolution Card directs the customer to the NICS Appeal website www.fbi.gov/nics-appeals for customers to begin their VAF or appeal process. For customers without Internet access, they may contact the NICS Section’s Customer Service at 1-877-FBI-NICS (324-6424) for a packet to be sent via U.S. mail.

A NICS Website for Appeal and VAF Applicants

The NICS Section deployed a website last spring for customers wishing to appeal a denied transaction or submit a VAF application on a delayed transaction. All electronically submitted appeal requests must be made through the NICS Appeal website at www.fbi.gov/nics-appeals. The NICS appellant or VAF applicant will need to follow the step-by-step instructions on how to submit an appeal or VAF request. An Appeal or VAF Request Form must be completed with all mandatory fields prior to being able to print or electronically submit the request.

Note: The NICS Resolution Cards are to be provided to your customer as informational purposes for appealing or submitting a VAF application. These cards are not to be sent into the NICS Section to initiate the Appeal or VAF Process.

NICS E-Check Digital Certificate Expiration Date

Attention FFL NICS E-Check Users: The NICS Section sends a reminder to renew your NICS E-Check digital certificate via e-mail 7, 15, and 30 days prior to the expiration date of the digital certificate. If you have not received these notices in the past, you may want to check your spam e-mail. Also, in order to receive these reminders, it is very important to keep your e-mail address up to date with the NICS Section. The NICS Customer Service Representatives are available to assist in updating your e-mail address in our records and/or additional questions concerning the NICS E-Check Digital Certificate by calling 1-877-FBI-NICS (324-6427) and selecting option 3.

Please Keep Your FFL Contact Information Up to Date

If the NICS Section needs to contact your business, do we have the correct contact information on file for you? When your FFL contact information changes, there are two agencies to contact: the ATF Licensing Center at 1-866-662-2750 and the NICS Section’s Customer Service at 1-877-FBI-NICS (324-6427), option 2.

FFL Validating Another FFL for a Firearm Transfer

It is not the practice of the NICS Section to provide information that is ATF-related. If an FFL is attempting to verify another FFL’s license for a transfer, the FFL should access the the ATF website at www.atfonline.gov/fflezcheck or call the FFL ezcheck number at 1-877-560-2435.

Common Mistakes/Discrepancies Made by the FFL and/or Purchaser

The following are common mistakes/discrepancies made by the FFL and/or purchaser. Please review the bullets below to make sure you are in compliance with the law.

  • Conducting a NICS check on a known straw purchase;
  • ATF Form 4473 lost or not on file;
  • FFL conducting a NICS check on a nonpurchaser;
  • Transfer of a firearm prior to allowable NICS transfer date;
  • No NICS check conducted;
  • FFL calling in numerous checks on a denied individual (must be same contact at FFL and within same time period);
  • Modification of descriptive data to receive a proceed response from the NICS;
  • Unauthorized access to the NICS;
  • Duplicate NICS checks being performed; and
  • Not recording status updates from the NICS on the ATF Form 4473.

Where do you mail your ATF Form 3310.4–“Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers”?

The NICS Section has been receiving numerous ATF Form 3310.4 erroneously at their address in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The ATF Form 3310.4 provides instructions on the back of the form regarding where this information should be sent. Section 6a advises that a copy of the form should be submitted to the National Tracing Center no later than the close of business on the day the multiple sale or other disposition occurs. The form can be provided in a couple different ways.  It can either be faxed to (877) 283-0288 or mailed to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, National Tracing Center, P.O. Box 0279, Kearneysville, WV 25430-0279.