If you are reading this blog, you or someone you know may have just found out you have been “denied” from purchasing a firearm. Maybe it was your first time trying to purchase a gun, and, come to find out you can’t? Or maybe you have been lawfully purchasing firearms for years, and then out of nowhere, you get denied. These are common and confusing situations. Often times, however, a NICS’ denial may be reversed. This blog provides a brief overview of NICS’ system, denials, and some potential solutions.
“NICS,” The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, is the system used by the federal government and accessed by retailers (such as gun shops in each state) when checking whether a prospective firearm purchaser is prohibited under state or federal law from possessing (and purchasing) firearms. One important factor to understand is the NICS system, and therefore a NICS denial is based on federal law and state law. You must be able to purchase under both bodies of law or you may be denied.
You may now be asking yourself, but why am I prohibited? The short answer, unfortunately, is it depends. One common explanation could be a pure case of mistaken identity. Being a national system, as compared to a smaller state system, there are instances where individuals with fairly common names (such as John Smith) can get mixed up. Or, you actually may be “prohibited” according to federal law or state law. The bulk of prohibitors under federal law can be found in 18 U.S.C. 922. Contained in that federal code section is a long list of “prohibitors” which prevent an individual from owning a firearm.
Now you are probably wondering, so how do I fix it? Unfortunately, this part of the process is extremely fact sensitive and complex, leading to some confusion. In some circumstances, it may just be a NICS’ appeal. In others, you may have to do an expungement and/or “restore” your rights in a given state, if the law allows it before successfully purchasing a firearm. There are simply too many variables for any sort of concrete, streamlined answer and solution.
While it can seem overbearing, or a lost cause, know that you do have options. Having skilled counsel that can help guide you through the process is key to ensuring your rights are protected and potentially resolving denial of a purchase of a firearm. This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle a wide array of firearms issues throughout the state. This blog is intended for general information purposes. It is not a solicitation for legal services or specific advice. This is an advertisement.