The FIST program collects counts of firearm transfers and permit checks conducted by state and local agencies and combines this information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) transaction data. Under FIST, additional information is collected on reasons for denials, appeals of denials, and law enforcement actions the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) take against denied persons.
BJS is authorized to conduct this data collection under its authorizing statute, which reads in part that BJS is authorized to "support the development and enhancement of national systems of criminal history and related records including the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the National Incident-Based Reporting System, and the records of the National Crime Information Center, facilitate State participation in national records and information systems, and support research for critical analysis of the improvement and utilization of criminal history records." 42 U.S.C. § 3732 (c) (19).