Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $796,850)
The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, Pub. L. 110-180 ("NICS Improvement Act"), was signed into law by the President on January 8, 2008. The NICS Improvement Act amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 ("the Brady Act") (Pub. L. 103-159), under which the Attorney General established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Brady Act requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to contact the NICS before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person for information on whether the proposed transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under state or federal law. The NICS Improvement Act authorizes grants to be made in a manner consistent with the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP).
Under this award, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) will use funds to address the NARIP priority to improve the accessibility, timeliness, and completeness of records available to NICS, notably prohibiting mental health records. In December 2008, Maryland's NICS record estimate was approximately 25%. Since this time, Maryland has substantially improved in the state records estimate reporting. In 2013, Senate Bill 281, Firearm Safety Act of 2013, was signed into law. This bill addresses record sharing abilities which will allow the State of Maryland to move forward as it removes the legal barrier to sharing mental health records. As of May, 2014 Maryland had about 6,200 records in the mental health file in the NICS Index. DPSCS will use grant funds to improve its reporting of disqualifying records to NICS, notably for prohibiting mental health information. DPSCS will use funds to complete three projects: 1) Missing Disposition Records. The state currently has a backlog of 137,000 records that are missing critical disposition information for arrests. Funding will support contractual efforts to research 10,000 records with a goal of resolving at least 90% (9,000) missing dispositions and updating criminal history records that are queried by NICS during a background check; 2) Indent/Index and Arrest Disposition Reporting Mainframe Systems Replacement. DPSCS is planning a major update to replace two legacy data systems. The Indent/Index System provides a Master Index of State Identification Numbers, as well as demographic information on persons with a SID Number, and captures fingerprint data which is stored in Criminal records Master File and serves as an Index to CJIS, the Division of Corrections (DOC), and Parole and Probation Files. The ADR Mainframe System provides Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) services to authorized criminal justice agencies throughout the state. ADR is the designated electronic repository for CHRI for the state and court case data, including charges and dispositions are received from the Judicial Information Systems (JIS) and added to ADR's Court Data Base. Records maintained in these systems are queried during a NICS firearm background check. DPSCS will use funds to assess and document business and technical requirements and specifications that will need to be followed to replace the systems; and 3) Improvements to the Automated Mental Health Data Reporting System. Funds will be passed through to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to support its Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) that transmits information on persons prohibited from possessing firearms due to prohibiting mental health reasons to DPSCS for subsequent submission to NICS. Funds will be used to purchase hardware and software needed to safeguard the data and increase access to the information and provide various reporting capabilities to monitor the state's progress in increasing its submission of mental health record submissions to NICS. (CA/NCF)