Bipartisan Congressional Visit to FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division
On January 5, 2023, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray was joined by DOJ Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, Senators John Cornyn (TX), Joe Manchin (WV), Christopher Murphy (CT), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), and Thom Tillis (NC) on a visit to Clarksburg, West Virginia to visit the Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
While in Clarksburg, they received a series of briefings and demonstrations on how the recent changes made to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), following the passage of the NICS Denial Notification Act and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), are protecting Americans across the country. NICS is the FBI's national system that, as required by law, conducts a background check on people in over 40 states and territories who want to purchase or possess a firearm or explosive. NICS assists 13 additional states that conduct their own checks, which often rely on data held by CJIS.
"Today, we were able to host a bipartisan congressional visit to our CJIS Division and provide a briefing of the FBI's implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA)," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "The BSCA requires our National Instant Criminal Background Check System to alert state and local law enforcement of background check denials as well as expands checks for young adults. The FBI remains dedicated to meeting all of our legal requirements in order to protect the American public."
Implemented this past September, the NICS Denial Notification Act now requires NICS to alert state and local law enforcement of background check denials, so that these authorities can decide whether to investigate or prosecute these denied individuals.
The BSCA expanded NICS background checks by the “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence” prohibitor by applying that prohibition to persons convicted on or after June 25, 2022, of a qualifying offense that was committed against a person with whom they are or were in a “dating relationship.” This also extended and strengthened background checks to include juvenile criminal and mental health records for transactions related to persons under age 21.
Among additional topics discussed, CJIS provided information on the National Threat Operations Center (NTOC). NTOC serves as the primary communication channel for the public to provide information pertaining to federal violations and threats to national security and operates out of CJIS.