Customers Denied or Delayed by NICS? Here’s What to Do

The FBI and ATF have informed NSSF that both agencies have been realizing a higher-than-­normal volume of calls by consumers who have received denials or extensive delays from the NICS system. This rise in calls does not have a corresponding rise in actual denials or approval delays; rather, there seems to be an increase in retailers advising customers who have experienced a denial or approval delay to call NICS in seeking a resolution. Such phone calls, however, do not provide a resolution to the consumer’s concerns. The FBI has provided us with this information: If a customer believes he has been erroneously denied or is experiencing an extended delay, he may submit a request to the FBI or other appropriate agency that appeals the denial or delayed decision. Retailers should provide customers who wish to make such an appeal with a NICS Resolution Card, which explains how an individual would initiate an appeal request to the FBI or other appropriate agency.

The FBI's NICS Section cannot release the reason for the denial or delay response over the phone. FFLs should not encourage their customers to call either NICS customer service or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as neither will be able to provide an individual with verbal information relating to their case. Instead, in addition to providing customers with the NICS Resolution Card, the FBI encourages its retailers to guide these consumer to the NICS Appeal website (fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/appeals/nics-appeals-process/appeals-home).