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States make progress in reporting records of unlawful drug users for firearm-related background checks


The sixth in a series of reports on firearms-related background checks — this one focusing on unlawful drug users — is now available.  The research bulletin is a collaboration of SEARCH/National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and was recently published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.

Under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, being an unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance prohibits a person from receiving firearms.

This report describes how firearm-related background checks conducted of various national and state systems relate to unlawful drug users and the records that prohibit them from purchasing or possessing firearms.

It also describes the challenges to identifying and providing relevant records, including strategies some states use to improve reporting.

Becki Goggins, Director of Law and Policy for SEARCH, co-authored the bulletin, which is part of a series, titled “State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks,” that BJS has published since 2016.

The bulletins provide tangible evidence to state and federal policymakers of how investments in improving our country’s criminal justice infrastructure have resulted in increasing the number of records available for both firearms background checks and criminal justice purposes.

They also serve as a guide to promising practices for making records available through the Interstate Identification Index (III), National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Index for states that seek strategies to improve their submission to state and federal databases.

Other bulletins in this series are—

Visit our Publications section to access a wide range of national research, analytical, technical and survey reports, guides and bulletins on a range of timely issues in criminal justice information management, technology, information sharing, communications interoperability, and law and policy, as well as high-tech crime investigations.

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