Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from owning a gun under current law. Thus, during presale screening of prospective firearms purchasers, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System historically did not utilize terrorist watch list records. However, for homeland security and other purposes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and applicable state agencies began receiving notices (effective February 3, 2004) when such screening involved watch lists records. GAO determined (1) how many checks have resulted in valid matches with terrorist watch list records, (2) procedures for providing federal counterterrorism officials relevant information from valid-match background checks, and (3) the extent to which the FBI monitors or audits the states' handling of such checks.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of the Attorney General||Proper management of NICS transactions with valid matches to terrorist watch list records is important. Thus, the Attorney General should clarify procedures to ensure that the maximum amount of allowable information from these background checks is consistently shared with counterterrorism officials.|
|Office of the Attorney General||Proper management of NICS transactions with valid matches to terrorist watch list records is important. Thus, the Attorney General should either implement more frequent monitoring by the FBI of applicable state agencies or have the FBI centrally manage all terrorism-related NICS background checks.|