Alert Local Law Enforcement of Failed Background Checks
What is the problem?
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) stops thousands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other prohibited people from buying guns each year. Potential purchasers often fail NICS background checks and walk away with no consequences, free to try to arm themselves in other ways.
NICS denial laws, also known as “active alerts,” require state law enforcement or firearm dealers to notify local law enforcement when a person prohibited by law from purchasing firearms tries to buy a gun and fails the background check. This enables law enforcement to stop them before they obtain guns illegally.
Myth & Fact
States have no role in enforcing the federal background check requirement to purchase a firearm.
States can and do enforce federal background check requirements. In fact, even in states that do not require law enforcement notification of failed checks, prosecutors sometimes charge people with violating state laws prohibiting lying on government forms when they find out that a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law attempted to purchase one from a licensed dealer.