Gun Sales Surge During Stressful Times, Causes Delays in NICS Background Checks

During the recent coronavirus outbreak, gun sales skyrocketed.  Website visits to, for example, increased by 334% and led to a 434% increase in transactions from the previous month.  While this seems to be an extreme phenomenon, trends of increased gun sales tend to coincide with events of political and economic stress.  Similar peaks of gun sales happened right after events such as Y2K, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and most notably with the election of Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama, where the FBI received more than 374,000 requests for background checks on gun purchasers.

Unfortunately, these heavy amounts of requests for background checks can lead to delays from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as well as delays on processing license requests at the state level.  If there are any problems with these requests, such as illegible fingerprints or partially incomplete cards, the application could be rejected and the new owner will not only have to wait longer but also potentially pay licensing and fingerprinting fees again.  This is why it’s important to review both the NICS website and your state’s firearm license laws to ensure the process can go as smoothly as possible.

In Georgia, for example, firearms licenses are provided by probate courts to individuals over the age of 21.  Part of this application includes submitting fingerprints for a criminal history records check and a background check, which will be requested after five days from submission.  The background check takes thirty days, and then law enforcement determines whether you can receive a license.  These licenses are valid for five years, after which they will need to be renewed.  

To prevent rejection, the FBI recommends using FD-258 fingerprint cards and also recommends submitting multiple sets of fingerprints, preferably by a fingerprint technician.  The FBI will accept FD-258 fingerprint cards on standard white paper stock, but in order to ensure legible prints Atlanta Fingerprinting provides FD-258 cards on standard card stock.  Some probate courts, such as Gwinnett County, also require fingerprinting to be performed at the probate court, so check your county website to see what the conditions are for fingerprinting in your area.  

Atlanta Fingerprinting doesn’t offer electronic fingerprinting at this time, but if you want to have ink fingerprints taken in just fifteen minutes, please don’t hesitate to call us at (404) 465-1705 to make an appointment.  We can schedule same-day appointments and are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and weekends by demand.