NICS Operations Stats Too Horrible to Believe

By Alan Korwin

Keystone NICS Cops
Keystone NICS Cops

PHOENIX, AZ –-( The lamestream media told you:

Although 90% of Americans suddenly support something called “universal background checks,” which they had never heard of before, now that a madman killed little children in Connecticut, Congress has done nothing.

The checks would have done nothing to save the children, a point on which everyone agrees. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to ban guns Americans already own, which she has been promoting for 20 years, did not even make it to Congress, again. Bills to identify crazy people have not been introduced. Or drafted.

Sen. Schumer’s various modifications of Feinstein’s bill, as well as bills of his own suffered the same fate, despite overwhelming support. The Manchin-Toomey amendment, which we told you had overwhelming support of 90%, only got 56% support in the Senate and died. The actual contents of the 49-page bill were never reported in any lamestream “news” outlet, not even the fair and balanced one. It was described in detail in Page Nine:

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that: I could only find one official study of what goes on between the NICS background-check office, the FBI, the BATFE and the US Attorney’s Office (USAO), which handles prosecution of criminals trying to buy guns at retail and pay sales tax. I hope you didn’t eat a heavy meal, because you’ll have trouble holding it down when you read this. The report was issued in July 2004.

This is what the media is trying to convince you that 90% of the public supports:

  • In the two years studied (CY 2002-2003), NICS handled 16.7 million background checks.
  • 121,909 people were denied firearms, and the FBI referred these to ATF, who refers them to their Brady Operations Branch, who refers them to their NICS coordinators, who refers them to their ATF division offices, who refers them to their satellite offices or field offices, to see if they meet “USAO prosecutorial guidelines” so they can be brought up on charges of criminals  trying to buy guns.

In other words, just because a person was denied a firearm does not mean the U.S. prosecutors want to go after them. They have to meet guidelines. Most don’t.

Without boring you, most people in the NICS chain-of-command don’t have the guidelines, haven’t been trained, don’t even know there are guidelines (I didn’t, like you, I thought most everyone caught is a criminal). The functionaries don’t have a way to communicate up or down the chain, have cases “without prosecutorial merit” (which is not described) because they just send piles of “captures” over without review. The space they have to make notes on their computer screens is too small for notes.

Typical Keystone Kops procedures plague the system — “increasing the workload of already overburdened field investigators… delaying investigation of prosecutable cases… cases without merit… insufficient resources… insufficient staffing… extensive case backlogs… ” it’s a loooonng list.

  • 7,030 prohibited possessors got firearms because their “delayed” response time periods ran out. ATF agents either did not conduct retrievals, did not do them in a timely fashion, took four months to more than a year, and did not document retrievals so there was no way to tell what happened, if anything.
  • Before trying to retrieve a gun from someone who should not have it, ATF sends a letter telling the person to give it up. Sometimes. They might include a deadline. They might act if there is no response. Or not. They let the person give the gun to anyone, which can include another person who cannot have a gun. Yes, you read that right. In 55% of these cases (from this study) ATF made no records of what happened, and lets the case drop. Only ATF’s high-profile homicides, arson of occupied satructures and gun-smuggling makes the news.

“ATF special agents did not consider most of the prohibited possessors who had obtained guns to be dangerous and therefore did not consider it a priority to retrieve the firearm promptly.” ATF did not track the retrieval process at all.

  • ATF had not conducted a NICS coordinator training conference in years. When it did, 6 of the 17 coordinators showed up.
  • In a sample of 200 denials referred for action, 22 were illegal aliens. These are referred to Dept. of Homeland Security (ICE) and the Brady Operations Center. The ATF division offices “closed these cases without investigation because they did not involve other prohibiting factors.” Illegal alien status is one of the nine enumerated bans specified in statute. ATF has decided not to enforce this law, out of hand.
  • In 36% to 95% of the cases, NICS division field offices provide no feedback to the Brady Ops Branch. Command has little idea what the local offices are up to. “Several of the field office group supervisors told us they did not investigate the majority of the referrals they received.”
  • Between 8% and 35% of denials in the samples were people found not to be prohibited from possessing firearms.
  • Only 154 cases were prosecuted of the 16.7 million checks of the 121,909 denials. ATF had sent only 230 to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, USAO accepted on 185, and then went after only 154. I recall reading somewhere it managed to convict a small handful.

The Washington Post reports that for 2010 (out of more than six million NICS checks):

“In the end, 62 cases were referred for prosecution, but most were declined by prosecutors or dismissed by the court. Out of the original 73,000 denials, there emerge just 13 guilty pleas.” Is this what 90% of the public supports? The Post only ran this online.

What are we paying for the 13 guilty pleas? Is this a good use of limited resources, or does it just make some people feel good, and make anti-rights legislators look good as long as the “news” keeps you in the dark and you don’t know what’s really going on?

“Historically, USAOs have been unsuccessful in achieving convictions in many of these cases and consequently have been unwilling to expend their limited resources on prosecuting most NICS cases.”

Why? The report answers this question about the much ballyhooed NICS system:

“These cases lack ‘jury appeal’ for various reasons.  The factors prohibiting someone from possessing a firearm may have been nonviolent or committed many years ago.  The basis for the prohibition may have been noncriminal (e.g., a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. military).  It is also difficult to prove that the prohibited person was aware of the prohibition and intentionally lied to the FFL [federally licensed dealer].  We were also told that in parts of the United States where hunting historically has been part of the regional culture, juries are reluctant to convict a person who attempted to purchase a hunting rifle.”

The big bottom line is that despite all the BS about background checks, the real reason to increase the system is to register more gun owners. Gun registration is a bad idea. If, like Piers Morgan, you don’t understand why:

(“How does writing my name, or your name, in an FBI book help stop crime?”)

If you really want background checks, they can be done with zero registration, and 10% of the current cost:

Books by Alan Korwin:

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Bloomfield Press, founded in 1988, is the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Our website,, features a free national directory to gun laws and relevant contacts in all states and federally, along with our unique line of related books and DVDs.  Our authors are available for interview, call to schedule. Call for cogent positions on gun issues, informed analysis on proposed laws, talk radio that lights up the switchboard, fact sheets and position papers. As we always say, “It doesn’t make sense to own a gun and not know the rules.” Visit:

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Michael Curcio

I shudder to think how much all of this has cost!


Just a bunch of hogwash. Typical government program to suck more money from the tax payer and create more government jobs and do nothing.

Bob McKenna

I can’t believe how much I didn’t know about the unwieldy, almost impossible identification of real criminals and thesir prosecution.
Almost everyone agrees that crooks should not be able to arm themselves legally. Even me, who is a RABID 2nd amendment proponent.
To simply say that the NCIS is just another government boondoggle is absolutely apathetic.
But what do we do about it ? Where do we find the elected official with the time and resources to change it ? Do any of them have the good sense necessary ? Or the power ?


Good read. Thanks1

Dr. Evil

It looks like the entire NICS process isn’t effective and a big waste of money. They should just close it down.

Marc de Piolenc

Background checks are what Bruce Schneier calls “security theater” – measures intended to reassure the public that Something is Being Done, without actually addressing the problem that the theatrical performance was ostensibly mounted to correct. Of course, in this case it’s worse because the real purpose is to register honest, law-abiding gun owners for future persecution (after all, they’re easier to steal guns from because they’re less likely to shoot the confiscators).


At last, we have a real Pro for president:
Pro-gay, Pro-amnesty, Pro abortion, Pro-same sex marriage, Pro-abortion, Pro-Muslim, Pro-gun confiscation, Pro-drone, Pro-snoop, Pro-race bias, Pro-destruction of our constitution,
Yep . . Pro-Obama


Additional background checks are totally unnecessary….
If the real intent is to thwart gun violence, a simple check of voter registrations are all that’s required. Since the vast majority of gun violence is committed by Democrats, simply checking voter registrations and removing guns from the hands of Democrats will virtually eliminate gun violence. After all, simply registering as a Democrat confirms an individual is mentally unstable and therefore should not be permitted to own a firearm.