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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the establishment and operation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), focusing on: (1) system availability and responsiveness; (2) type of information available under NICS compared to that available to state and local law enforcement agencies prior to NICS; (3) advantages and disadvantages of NICS background checks being conducted by designated state agencies rather than the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and (4) the extent to which transactions under NICS have resulted in firearms being sold to persons ineligible to possess a firearm.

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