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Survey of Criminal History Information Systems: Implementing the Lautenberg Amendment

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1998
This report presents the findings of a survey that examined the status and capabilities of the States to comply with the Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibits the receipt or possession of firearms by persons convicted of the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

The five-part survey instrument consisted of 31 questions, many of which were multi-part. The survey was designed to collect data that relate to misdemeanors in five areas: State legal requirements, State practices, workload impact, level of automation, and impact on the National Instant Criminal History Background System. Following the receipt of the responses, all data were compiled in table form. The questionnaire was sent to the administrators of the State criminal history record repositories from July through September 1997. One question was also disseminated to the directors of the State offices of court administration. Responses were received from criminal history repository administrators in 51 jurisdictions, including the 50 States and the District of Columbia. Court administrators in 39 States responded to the inquiry sent to them. Major findings from the survey relate to the specific requirements and elements of the domestic violence misdemeanor prohibition. Findings on legal requirements relate to the establishment of the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and the reporting requirements for misdemeanors. Information was obtained on fingerprinting practices because in almost all States, a criminal history record for a subject is created only when arrest data are supported by fingerprints. To be accessible in response to an inquiry, therefore, fingerprints must be taken for Lautenberg-defined crimes and submitted to the State criminal history. Other findings pertain to the identification of offenses, other statutory requirements, court practices, instant access to records under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and data on the impact on States of the implementation or planned implementation of the domestic violence misdemeanor conviction prohibition. 11 tables

Date Published: June 1, 1998