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Improve Hawaii's Reporting of Persons Prohibited from Possessing a Firearm to NICS

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $401,249)

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 Hawaii Department of the Attorney General has delegated the responsibility for the issuance of the permits to acquire and register firearms to the four county police departments. In most cases, an individual who wants to acquire a legal firearm applies for and is issued a permit. However, not all registrations are preceded by a permit (firearms transfers, inheritance, out of state imports, etc.). In either case, standard background checks are run on each applicant. General demographic data, fingerprints and photos of each applicant/registrant are taken to be used for positive identification in the criminal history and mental health validation process. The fingerprints are verified against the State’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to determine whether the individual has a criminal record in either the State criminal history repository system CJIS-Hawaii or federal files/systems. Mental health checks are processed manually, with the necessary information requested from the State Department of Health. Based on the findings of the criminal history and mental health checks, the permit application or registration may be approved, denied, or revoked.

To ensure compliance with the requirements of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Hawaii plans to establish a program manager position to develop a NICS Record Improvement Program Plan for the state of Hawaii, create a task force of partners, implement the Plan, and monitor the Plan’s progress. Funds will also be used for Hawaii to participate in the Identification for Firearms Sales (IFFS) program by flagging felony convictions to the Interstate Identification Index (III); identify Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence convictions to include more accurate identification of the victim and the initiating/final charges; and assist Hawaii’s Department of Health by partnering in modernizing the ability of their Adult Mental Health system to share more electronic/real time responses with the police agencies making the firearm purchase determinations.


Date Created: September 22, 2015