What is NICS?
NICS, or the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, is currently a required step in the process for all guns purchased through licensed firearm dealers, currently accounting for about 60% of sales. Unfortunately, there are many flaws in this system, which is only as accurate as the information input by law enforcement agencies, courts, and local, state, and the federal government. Traditional background checks employ information beyond just that checked by NICS. Things like an individual’s employment history, educational background, Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctions, department of motor vehicle history, and more can paint a fuller picture than a check based on fingerprints alone. Many of these background check elements are conducted by phone interview, so the investigation is relying on a person and their knowledge of the applicant rather than solely on database information that may be inaccurate.