Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Friday Gun Sales Crash NICS

According to a story in the Bangor (ME) Daily News, the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS suffered intermittent outages on Black Friday due to call volume. A number of Bangor-area firearms dealers reported trouble with the system which caused them to lose sales. While a number of their customers were local, a good proportion were from the more rural areas of Maine and made a special trip into the Bangor-Brewer area just to purchase a firearm.

The FBI confirmed the outage to the newspaper.

Black Friday sales played a role in the problems with NICS, the director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division said, responding to an email from the Bangor Daily News.

“The NICS has experienced intermittent outages today due to high call volumes,” Stephen G. Fischer Jr. said at about 2:15 p.m.

Lozier, who has worked at Van Raymond’s for more than a decade, said the outages cost him at least half a dozen customers by the time the business day was only half over.

“If we can’t call it in, we can’t sell a gun,” Lozier said. “It’s cost us some money.”
This report of high sales and resultant outages on the East Coast correlates with what Dave Workman was finding in Washington State. 

Friday may have broken records for gun sales across the country, and for background checks with the National Instant Check System (NICS), and gun dealers here in the Pacific Northwest were definitely along for the ride.

Examiner checked with Wade’s Indoor Gun Range in Bellevue and learned that there were times during the day when sales clerks simply could not get through to the NICS headquarters to conduct the necessary background checks.

It was the same story from Robin Ball, proprietor at Spokane’s Sharp Shooting Indoor Range, who told this column that “We had guns (and paperwork) stacked up...and we were doing speed dialing to finally get through.” When they did, she noted, clerks would have to do several checks at a time. She noted that Wednesday was also busy.

Ball said that NICS access began improving Friday afternoon as East Coast and central-U.S. gun shops began closing for the day.
I can't wait to see the NSSF-adjusted NICS statistics for November. I think you are going to see records broken yet again.


  1. I wouldn't be surprised if November is the highest total EVER!

  2. “If we can’t call it in, we can’t sell a gun,”

    I'm waiting for the time when there is 1 operator for the entire USA who is 70 years old and can't type.

    No checks = no sales.

  3. Outages in NICs are ... I don't know a word for it. I work in support and one of the things i support is cloud based network protection, we wash DDos attacks through Arbor and other devices that receive network data through large cloud systems, and at work we "shorthand" our 99.999% SLA's to "unacceptable". We really don't allow an outage of any time span to occur and that's only "three nines" on a system that no one is legally required to use, that cannot interfere with a constitutionally enumerated civil right.

    We really have to communicate to friends and "non gun" people just how completely unacceptable the idea of a "NICs outage" is. For folks who are not in the RKBA fold, this can be an important introduction to the whole idea of protected civil right and get them to thinking about why we would have an electronic system as a part of a gatekeeper function for a constitutionally protected civil right (like, say, freedom of speech). Don't jump to the end argument that you and I might agree on right now. Tell people on the fence that during these outages people who want to defend their own life (or, pick the RKBA benefit of your choice) get told "no" by the federal government. Boyd K

  4. An FFL can at their discretion make a sale if NICS doesn't get back to them after 3 business days. Of course they don't do that now, but if NICS started failing hard for whatever reason the law allows us to carry on.

  5. While it's too early to be sure of anything, The NSSF has this to say right now:

    BENEFITS OF E-CHECK . . . During this record period for background checks, NICS reports that some firearms retailers calling into the NICS Section experiences extended wait times or received a message saying "all circuits are busy." However, the NICS E-Check system was up and running with little delay. NICS encourages FFLs to enroll with the NICS E-Check system to avoid extended wait times. [...] FFLs using NICS E-Check are able to check the status of all their NICS Transaction Numbers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The NICS Section also provides the ability for the FFL to sign up to receive notification of modifications and messages....

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