Currently, states that serve as points of contact (POCs) are encouraged, but not required, to transmit to the NICS system determinations that a transaction is denied The proposed rule would require that POCs “provide notification to the NICS of their determination that a firearm transfer may proceed, is denied, or that the check is unresolved.” The transmitted information must include all information relating to the transaction, including the identifying information provided for the background check, the FFL number, the records that were returned by the check, the NTN, the date of the determination, and, in the case of denials, the category of denial.” This information would be destroyed on the same schedule as NICS-originated information.
The VPC agrees that transmittal of this information would improve the system in that it would help make state-based information regarding prohibited purchasers more readily available to the NICS. However, the VPC urges that the final rule clarify that this new requirement is not intended to interfere with states’ ability to retain their own records and establish their won document-retention periods. This is consistent with the court’s ruling in National Rifle Association v. Reno upholding the Department of Justice’s regulation allowing states to operate under their own document destruction rules.25
Recommendation: Transmittal of POC information to the NICS is an important improvement in the system. However, the final rule should clarify that this new requirement is not intended to interfere with states’ ability to retain their own records and establish their own document retention periods.
- National Rifle Association of America v. Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States, 342 U.S. App. D.C. 231, 216 F.3d 122 (D.C. Cir. 2000), upholding 28 CFR 25.9 (d)(1), (d)(2). In implementing this regulation Attorney General Reno determined that the Brady Act’s document destruction rule did not apply to information retained by state governments that is “part of a record system created and maintained pursuant to independent state law.”