Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $406,035)
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 the 2017 NARIP award, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will use funds to implement a Technical Enhancement of the Firearm Eligibility System (FES) and improve access to Clerk of Court Historic Documents project.
Under the Technical Enhancement of the FES, FDLE has experienced a five (5) year increase of over 30% in the number of record checks as compared to calendar year 2012. This increase in workload along with the three (3) business day turnaround requirement has caused the state to need more staff support. If three days have lapsed and the disposition has not been received from the other state, the staff continues to research the disposition. A disqualifying conviction may be found after three days. In these cases, the local law enforcement agency for the jurisdiction where the firearm transfer occurred, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), are notified that an ineligible person may be in the possession of a firearm.
FDLE states the research that goes into to conducting these checks, especially from other states, is extremely time consuming. In some instances, multiple contacts must be made to determine where the disposition is held and to find an individual who is willing to assist in providing the required information to FDLE. In some cases, written correspondence is required.
Under the Improve Arrest Data/Missing Arrest project, FDLE will leverage the responsibility as the central repository for criminal history records for the State of Florida to ensure records of all criminal events that start with a fingerprinted arrest are included in the criminal history database. FDLE currently has in excess of 6.8 million criminal history records containing over 27 million arrest entries. Floridas Computerized Criminal History (CCH) file and Biometric Identification System (BIS) are designed to electronically accept arrest events from booking agencies immediately after the fingerprints are taken. For older arrests, the process was not streamlined as it is today. As a result, some Florida arrest events exist at the county level and at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), but are not included in Florida CCH file. Addressing this gap in criminal history information has fallen to a manual process that is personnel intensive. The availability of complete and accurate criminal history records is critical for issuing firearm approvals and maintaining health and fluidity of criminal justice systems.