The Firearm Inquiry Statistics (FIST) program collects information on firearm applications and denials and combines this information with the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) transaction data to produce an estimated number of background checks for firearm transfers or permits since the effective date of the Brady Act in 1994. Reports describe trends in background check activities and the number of firearm transaction applications processed by the FBI and by state and local agencies, the number of applications denied, reasons for denial, and estimates of applications by jurisdiction and by each type of approval system.
The Firearm Inquiry Statistics (FIST) program collects data from state agencies that conduct background checks or compile data from local checking agencies, local agencies that conduct background checks or track applications but do not report to a state agency, and the FBI.
In the 2018 data collection, more than one source was used for 32 states. FIST obtained counts of background checks for firearm transfers from the FBI and state reporters. In 2018, FIST conducted a census of local reporting agencies in ten states and collected data from a sample of local reporting agencies in three states.
In 2018, the overall response rate was 83%, with 97% of state agency reporters and 82% of local agency reporters responding to the survey.