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Better gun checks require better IT systems

The White House and Congress continue to jockey over gun control legislation, but any plan that emerges will have to rely on the back-end IT systems of law enforcement agencies. Are those systems up to the task?

Not quite, argues Information Week’s John Foley, who writes that the federal government’s electronic firearm registration systems need to be overhauled.

Current gun registration databases are managed mainly by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) E-Check system and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Firearms Tracing System. And those systems, Foley writes, are “in desperate need of fixing.”

For example, it says, the ATF’s system still uses microfiche – those spooled rolls of film that contain photographs of recorded data – to retrieve information requested by law enforcement officials. And although the NICS processed 16.5 million firearms background checks in 2011, the article said, only 6 percent of them were received electronically. 

Electronically received checks can be processed within 30 seconds, according to the FBI website.  The remainder can take several days.

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Posted by David Hubler on Feb 05, 2013 at 9:39 AM

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