The FBI confirmed that its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) conitnued to funciton throughout the government shutdown and anticipates no impact on the processing of firearm transaction background checks from federally licensed gun dealers. NICS examiners who perform the checks and their managers were classified as “essential personnel” and maintained normal business hours throughout the federal government shutdown.  

However, most NICS support personnel are subject to furloughs and this will affect appeals, support and liaison activities. Individuals who have requested an “appeal of a denial” will be subject to a delay in response to their request.


Here is a summary of additional industry relevant information:

  • ATF e-Forms system is offline and will be unavailable for the duration of the shutdown.
  • The ATF Office of Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS), which includes the imports, firearms technology, NFA branches, the licensing center and firearms industry programs branch now processing marking variances, is effectively shut down, operating with minimal staff.
  • The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is accepting licenses, but only acting on them in genuine emergency situations.
  • The Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is no longer accepting export license applications, classification requests (CCATS), encryption reviews, encryption registrations or advisory opinion requests. Similarly, BIS will not be issuing any final determinations. All pending export license applications, commodity classification requests, encryption reviews, encryption registrations and advisory opinion requests will be held without action by BIS until the shutdown ends.