Beginning earlier this week, the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Divisions National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) section is requiring that place of birth be provided for all FBI-initiated transactions. This will be a valuable and efficient addition to the NICS process for the following reasons:
Currently, place of birth is a mandatory field on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473 and is therefore readily available for inclusion in the NICS check. There are no additional information disclosures for the potential purchaser or data collection requirements for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs).
Being a name-based search, having additional data points such as the place of birth helps to increase the accuracy and efficiency of firearm eligibility determinations. Place of birth is either a mandatory or optional field for entry of records into all three of the databases that the NICS searches against: the Interstate Identification Index (III), the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and the NICS Index.
This new requirement, to provide place of birth when initiating a NICS background check, will have minimal impact to the FFL. Currently, FFLs who contact the NICS Section directly, via one of the three Call Centers or NICS E-Check, are not required to provide the place of birth to initiate the NICS check. However, starting June 29, 2009, all FFLs who contact the NICS Section directly, via one of the three Call Centers or NICS E-Check, will be required to provide the place of birth when initiating a NICS check. If the place of birth is not provided, the check will not be processed.
FFLs who conduct business in a state in which there is a state-designated agency that conducts their firearm background checks currently may or may not be providing place of birth to initiate the check. If you are an FFL in a state that currently requires the place of birth be provided when initiating a firearm background check, you are required to continue to provide this piece of information.
If you are an FFL in a state where you contact a state-designated agency to conduct your firearm background checks and you are not required to submit the place of birth prior to initiating the check, you will be notified by your state-designated agency detailing when you will be required to provide the place of birth prior to initiating a firearm background check. Once you are notified by your state-designated agency that the place of birth is required to initiate a firearm background check, if you fail to provide the place of birth, the background check will not be processed.