By Chris Eger
With signs that a historic swell in gun sales and associated background checks may be tapering, the federal government may soon tackle a logjam of denial appeals.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System is currently working voluntary appeals dating back to August 2015 — for individuals denied 18 months ago. However, it hasn’t always been like that. In September 2015, the average delay was three months.
The change came when the nearly 70 examiners dedicated to appeals were reassigned to assist in running initial criminal background checks because of surges in gun sales in October 2015. Since then the delay has grown, despite executive action to expand NICS’s workforce to meet increasingly robust sales figures, leaving appeals to stagnate.
“That doesn’t fly in any place except government,” Stephen Stamboulieh, an attorney who has handled several lingering appeals cases in federal court, told Guns.com. “I couldn’t make that proclamation in court, ‘Sorry, Your Honor, I’m just so backed up.’ They judge would say, ‘That’s not my problem. It’s your problem.’”