Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $180,668)
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 Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) will use funds to improve the efforts of the NICS Task Force, Mental Health Reporting and development of upgrades to the Protection Order Portal.
Under Project 1, NSP concluded that due to a lack of coordination and a weak strategic plan, the initially established Nebraska NICS Improvement Task Force did not succeed in fully addressing all gaps and reasons for incomplete and/or unavailable NICS records. To improve efforts and revitalize the task force, NSP will continue to employ the program manager secured with 2016 NARIP funds. This program manager coordinates efforts among agencies and has developed a plan to measured progress and results. Further, the program manager will continue to engage in outreach to areas of tribal law enforcement, prosecuting attorneys, state correctional facilities, and parole agencies, targeting well-established groups and representatives. The purpose of the task force is to assess completeness and availability of NICS records and ensure all relevant records are being reported.
Under Project 2, NSP, using the Mental Health Portal, automated the reporting of 27,823 mental health records to the NICS Index. These paper records are missing social security numbers and/or birthdates, both of which are required in the ECRA and require further action. Currently, three (3)types of mental health designations, Relief of Disability, Not Responsible by Reason of Insanity (NRRI) and Court-ordered Guardianships, remain outside the Patrols current reporting capability. Through this project NSP will enhance the Electronic Commitment Reporting Application (ECRA) portal to address Relief of Disability. Specifically, this project will provide electronic solutions within the ECRA to issue Relief of Disability notifications, issue an advisory for the need for removal to the Mental Health Board, and verify remaining paper records to expedite search features.
Under Project 3, NSP will continue to develop and enhance the capabilities of the Protection Order Portal. The portal currently has included several features in its development stages but still faces a significant reporting issue. In 2014, Nebraska Courts issued 5,101 protection orders with 31.3% entered into NCIC. In 2015, 5,305 protection orders were issued with 46.3% entered by the 87 Nebraska counties using the PO Portal. Nebraska courts issued 5,645 protection orders in 2016. Of these, 2,895 were entered into NCIC for a statewide entry rate of 51.3%. The addition of the Douglas County records into NCIC has ensured that Nebraska will reach, and perhaps exceed, the goal of a 90% entry-rate statewide. Due to the volume of protection order records being issued in Douglas County, and the quantity of existing records available for entry, making these records available nationally is critical.