The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 was enhanced in 1993 by the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly known as the Brady Act. The Brady Act requires Federal Firearms Licensees (firearms dealers) to request background checks on prospective firearms transferees (firearms purchasers). Theses background checks are conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The NICS is a national system that checks available records in three national databases, which are the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III) and the NICS Index. The NICS Index contains information provided by local, state, tribal and federal agencies of persons prohibited from receiving firearms under federal or state law.
Section 922 of the Gun Control Act strictly prohibits certain persons from shipping, transporting or receiving any firearm in interstate commerce or foreign commerce or possessing any firearm in or affecting commerce. These prohibitions apply to any person who:
1) Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
2) Is a fugitive from justice.
3) Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.
4) Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution.
5) Is illegally or unlawfully in the United States. Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa.
6) Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
7) Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced U.S. citizenship.
8) Is subject to a court order that restrains that person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner.
9) Has been convicted in any court of a crime of misdemeanor domestic violence.
10) Is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
If the NICS Index returns a deny message, this indicates that the subject of a Brady Act background check has been matched with a similar name and/or similar descriptive information of a record containing a state law prohibition or any of the above listed federal prohibitions. A delay message indicates the subject has been matched with a record potentially containing state or federal prohibitive criteria.