Rep. Tom Emmer Introduces Firearm Due Process Protection Act

NRA - Institute for Legislative Action
NRA – Institute for Legislative Action

Fairfax, VA -( Last Tuesday; April 19, Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN) introduced H.R. 4980, the Firearm Due Process Protection Act.

This legislation is meant to ensure that eligible firearms purchasers are not arbitrarily denied their right to obtain firearms. The Act would afford those who are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) an effective and expeditious means of correcting any misinformation that would erroneously cause such a result.

In January, we reported on the alarming news that the FBI had “temporarily” suspended work on processing appeals of denials issued by NICS. The backlog of pending appeals at the time stood at 7,100. As we noted in that article, FBI data from 2014 showed that some 5% of the denials rendered by NICS that year were later overturned on appeal, meaning 4,411 people who had initially been erroneously denied were later able to vindicate their rights.

Of course not every person who is wrongfully denied will necessarily wade through the considerable bureaucracy necessary to challenge that decision. And the FBI’s figures account only for NICS checks processed directly by the FBI and not by the 21 states that handle some or all of the firearm purchase background checks for their jurisdictions.  Thus, the actual number of wrongful denials is undoubtedly much higher.

Current law does provide for an appeal process, but it does not establish deadlines for action on appeals or provide consequences for the FBI’s failure to act on them. Even before the FBI stopped processing NICS appeals altogether, the turnaround time for a decision could stretch from several months to more than a year. 

Rep. Emmers bill would address these problems in several ways. First, it would require the government to make a final determination on an appeal within 60 days after it received information in support of the claim. If the matter was not resolved within this timeframe, the individual would have the right to bring an action in federal court for a declaratory judgment on the person’s eligibility to receive and possess a firearm; a hearing would have to be held within 30 days after the action is brought.

If the government cannot establish the individual’s ineligibility at the hearing, the court would be required to issue an order for the government to correct or remove the erroneous records of NICS within five business days and to award the individual attorney’s fees and costs for the action.

Due process is a fundamental pillar of the American constitutional system. The purpose of Rep. Emmer’s bill is not to weaken NICS but to ensure that it functions as intended, blocking only legally prohibited individuals and not those who are misidentified or the victim of other bureaucratic mistakes.

As Rep. Emmer stated in introducing the bill, “Two months is a reasonable amount of time to run a background check and correct false information. Above all, citizens must always have recourse when denied a fundamental right.”

The NRA commends Rep. Emmer’s leadership in this important effort and urges swift consideration of the bill by the U.S. House of Representatives.

About the NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

For more information, please visit: Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

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“Shall not be infringed”

So few words so hard to understand?

It should never have come to this.


Concidering that NONE of the existing gun laws have ANY constitutionality and are in direct conflict with the constitution the “new laws” just intensify the attack on our liberties and our laws. Please, any one show me EXACTLY where our constitution allows ANYONE to impose regulations, restrictions, require permits et al on ANY of our rights. And by the way the excuse that it is in the interest of public safety has been proven a LIE by several glaring examples, Chicago, Detriot, New orleans and many others. The liberal/democrat play book is disgusting at best. If you can’t win with… Read more »


I’ll be your huckleberry.

John Smith wants to by a gun. He seems normal on the outside, but has a criminal and psychological history. A background check, done in a reasonable fashion, would stop said sale and protect all.


So, under your scenario we would presume that the 99+% of gun purchasers are guilty of a crime and force them to prove they are not (via a background check etc) just because an infitesimal number will purchase firearms and then commit crimes with them? What about the people who have purchased knives, hammers etc and then used them in crimes? By your logic we should have background checks and psyc evals for all purchases of anything that can be used as a weapon! All that while we have laws to prosecute those who (he says yet again) commit a… Read more »

Wild Bill

Typical under facted hypo, and a pitiful attempt to box in you opponent to admitting that your way is correct. If John Smith were a criminal why would he want to BUY a gun. A recent poll among currently serving convicts shows that the vast majority of criminals get their guns through crime.
Sorry the German Shepard is telling me that someone is here, I’d like to demolish the rest of your hypo, but I have to go.

Wild Bill

Well, I am back, but I see equally capable commenters already destroyed your hypothetical by pointing out that, even on your own facts, your conclusion that firearms buyers must prove that they have no purchasing disability is backward. But their is more… Your hypo presumes error free record keeping, health record sharing, criminal record sharing (state with federal). Your hypo presumes that Smith is disabled, by his past, from from buying a firearm. Does that mean that all infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies disable one from buying a firearm. How about sharing a health record? That is a crime. How about… Read more »


This is a good start. However, the better course of action, and one which many of us in the RKBA have been advocating, is to start repealing every single one of the more than 22,000 gun laws in this country. We’ve had laws on the books, for hundreds of years, against murder, robbery, rape and assault. I defy anyone to show me what positive effect any gun control law has and why we should not simply enforce the aforementioned laws and let law abiding citizens have unfettered access to whatever means they so desire to protect themselves and their families… Read more »