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NICS Denial Notifications for Law Enforcement

Why You Are Being Notified

By October 1, 2022, the FBI will be required by law to report National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) denied transactions to state, local, or tribal law enforcement within 24 hours.

When You Will Be Notified 

When a person receives a NICS denial notification, we will notify law enforcement based on:

  • city, state, county, and zip code combination of the federal firearms licensee (FFL) (seller) location
  • city, state, county, and zip code combination of the attempted transferee’s (purchaser/recipient) home address, when different from the FFL location

How You Will Be Notified 

NICS will send denial notifications through a $.H.NDN unsolicited message.

We will notify you within 24 hours of the denial.

If the original denial is changed to a proceed, we will provide an updated notification to the originally notified agencies.

Information You Will Receive 

  • Date and time of the denial
  • Reason for the denial
  • Location of the FFL
  • Identity of the person being denied

All available information relating to the denial is delivered with the denial notification.

What You Should Do With This Information - Deconfliction 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) investigates certain denials made based on federal prohibitions. We encourage you to contact ATF before taking any action to safeguard ongoing investigations. There is a deconfliction statement, including contact information for the appropriate ATF office, on the notification.

State, local, or tribal agencies may also have deconfliction procedures in place that agencies may want to consider as well.  

What You Should Do With This Information - Policies and Procedures 

The law does not require you to take any action when you receive these notifications. The FBI’s NICS Section will not ask you to take any action.

Your state and/or agency will need to establish policy and procedures on what action to take based on denial notifications, as appropriate under your authorities. Contact your respective state CJIS Systems Agency/Officer or agency administration for guidance on handling denial notifications.