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NICS Record Improvement Program in Massachusetts

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $491,565)

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 2016 NARIP, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (MA EOPSS) will pass through funds to conduct two (2) separate projects: 1) Automated NICS Reporting Process and 2) NICS Task Force Outreach and Communications projects

Under the Automated NICS Reporting Process project, MA EOPSS in partnership with the Executive Office of Trial Courts (EOTC) and the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) will address the limitations of the current data submission process to NICS by automating the data submission process to allow for the near real-time submission of mental health, substance abuse, and misdemeanor convictions of domestic violence (MCDV) records, as well as, develop and implement an application that will provide DCJIS the ability to manage messages received from NICS.

Based on the total number of court records received over the past thirteen (13) months, the DCJIS estimates 34,000 records will be submitted to NICS annually via the automated process. The breakdown is as follows:

• Substance Abuse: 18,000
• Mental Health: 5,000
• Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence: 500
• Fugitives from Justice: 10,000

These records are reported by the courts, therefore the number of commitments and domestic violence information submitted vary based on how many people are being committed for substance abuse or mental illness or involved in domestic violence cases. Without several years of submitted data, the estimate of how many records that will be entered into NICS is based on examining the records submitted since January, 2015.

Under the NICS Task Force Outreach and Communications project, MA EOPSS will work to establish and support a Massachusetts NICS Task Force. The Massachusetts NICS Task Force will be comprised of key stakeholders with the responsibility for the records systems including the DCJIS, EOPSS, EOTC, as well as a representative from Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, and the Department of Mental Health. Other members will include policy makers, analysts and advisors with knowledge of the issue. The task force’s initial efforts will be the development of a comprehensive strategic plan to improve the NICS records with primary attention given to the records identifying persons who have a prohibiting mental health adjudication or commitment. The focus of the NICS Records Improvement Strategic Plan will include analysis and direction for improvements on outreach and training for mental health providers. In addition, the Task Force will work to identify any existing barriers to full compliance and make both short and long-term recommendations. (CA/NCF)

Date Created: September 13, 2016