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SEARCH Organizes November 14 Capitol Hill Briefing on NICS

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SEARCH organized a Capitol Hill briefing this week to provide an overview of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The November 14 event featured experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), National Center for State Courts (NCSC), and SEARCH, who briefed dozens of congressional, agency, and association staff.

SEARCH leaders participated on the panel that provided an informational briefing on the NICS. From left: Vice Chair Julie Butler (Nevada) and Chair Leslie Moore (Kansas).

Panelists outlined how the firearms eligibility process works by providing an overview of NICS — including the databases involved, where the information comes from, and where it is stored.  They also explored the critical role of the local and state agencies in contributing data, and that of the states and the FBI in the firearms eligibility decision-making process.

In addition, panelists provided details on current funding programs that support the NICS, as well as challenges, obstacles, and successful information sharing strategies for making records available for firearms eligibility decisions.

Panelists were:

  • David Roberts, Executive Director, SEARCH
  • Leslie Moore, Director, Information Services Division, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; SEARCH Chair
  • Julie Butler, Administrator, Records, Communications and Compliance Division, Nevada Department of Public Safety; SEARCH Vice Chair
  • Robin Stark-Nutter,NICS Section Chief, FBI NICS
  • Jill Montgomery, NICS Liaison Specialist, FBI NICS
  • Eric Epstein, Senior Policy Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, ATF
  • Kevin O’Keefe, Chief, Operational Intelligence Division, ATF
  • Mike Buenger, Vice President of Operations, NCSC
  • Devon Adams, Chief, Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program, BJS

This briefing provided an opportunity to educate Congressional, agency, and association staff on NICS.  SEARCH will continue these education and outreach efforts as Congressional and stakeholder staff draft and review proposals related to background checks for firearms screening measures.

SEARCH Executive Director David Roberts (standing) provided opening remarks and introduced the panel. From left: Robin Stark-Nutter (FBI), Jill Montgomery (FBI), Eric Epstein (ATF), Kevin O’Keefe (ATF), Julie Butler (SEARCH), Leslie Moore (SEARCH), Mike Buenger (NCSC), and Devon Adams (BJS).
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