Guns

FBI Firearm Background Checks Hits 100 Million Mark

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for running the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), has announced the completion of the 100 millionth instant background check since the inception of NICS 10 years ago. The announcement drew praise from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the trade association for the firearms industry -- and follows the continued surge of firearm sales across the country for the fifth straight month, extending a trend that began after the November elections.

"We congratulate FBI-NICS on this milestone," said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. "For 10 years and 100 million transactions, the FBI-NICS team has minimized complications and delays of firearm purchases, thereby benefiting America's retailers, law-abiding gun owners and the general public."

FBI background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed retailers. These checks help ensure that those prohibited by law from possessing firearms do not acquire them, and the checks further serve as a strong indicator of actual sales.

The NICS 100 millionth transaction corresponds with a 27.1 percent increase in firearm sales for the first quarter of 2009 over the same quarter last year.

The timing of the record transaction overlapped with a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of NICS. NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane joined FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III at a ceremony in West Virginia to congratulate the FBI-NICS team. At the ceremony, Keane addressed the 100 millionth NICS check.

"As firearm sales continue to sky rocket across the country and the FBI-NICS team celebrates its 100 millionth transaction, the professionalism and outstanding customer service offered by FBI-NICS continues to flourish," said Keane. "A sincere congratulations is due to our friends in law enforcement."

Read the Opposing Views debate, Should ID Checks be Required for Gun Sales?