Firearm background checks may improve for tribal agencies


The Justice Department says Native American tribal criminal justice agencies should receive information about issued firearm permits and licenses and have access to FBI databases for background checks.

In a proposed rule change published Jan. 28 in the Federal Register, Justice says tribal agencies that can issue firearm permits and licenses should have the same access that state and local criminal justice agencies have to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, called the NICS Index when conducting background checks.

Current regulations allow federal, state and local agencies to access the database and other records, but not tribal agencies.

President Obama signed a memo on Jan. 16 telling Justice and other federal criminal justice and law enforcement agencies to improve the information quality and availability in NICS.

A separate Jan. 16 presidential memo directs all levels of law enforcement to better track and trace firearms throughout their lifecycle, including when they are transferred from agencies to citizens.

Comments must be submitted by March 29, either online or by mail.

For more:
- read the proposed rule change
- see the presidential memo on NICS

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