Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $349,000)
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).
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) seeks funding for phase III of improving the states CCH to provide the FBI, state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, and other criminal justice agencies with accurate and up-to-date information directly related to NICS checks. Manual matching of criminal history data has resulted in a major backlog of historical criminal history information in Alabama. Phases I and II established the central data repository for mental health data and set forth a standard for the electronic submission of the data to the central repository. Phase III will establish an alternative submission method for Probate Judges who have systems that cannot interface with the new repository due to the age of their legacy systems. Similarly, phase III of the domestic violence data processing component will address issues with legacy municipal systems that are not able to upload the data standards that were set forth in previous project phases. These alternative submission methods will be phased out when the legacy systems are upgraded in the future. Before those upgrades occur, these alternative submission methods will allow for the gathering of the data from the legacy partner systems. In addition, phase III will address the issue of automating the vast amount of backlogged historical data into the CCH. This will dramatically increase the amount of data that Alabama is able to have within its CCH system that will be subsequently submitted to NICS for appropriate denial of firearm purchases. Funds will be used to: 1) improve data quality and completeness of the Mental Health Repository; 2) automate the process of linking mental health adjudication records with the CCH system; and, 3) develop a court-wide data entry portal to obtain and maintain all relevant data in a consistent electronic format.
The mental health and domestic violence projects will be completed with ALEA as the primary agency providing leadership and subject matter expertise and the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety (UA-CAPS) as the technology partner. UA-CAPS is a research and development center within the University of Alabama, which is a State of Alabama agency that has partnered with ALEA for many years in the development of criminal justice information sharing tools in Alabama. ALEA and UA-CAPS have entered into an agreement for the development of software applications systems and support related to these projects.