Do NICS appeals finally have a timeline?
On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed an Appropriations bill which included the following language:
"For purposes of the preceding sentence, not later than 60 days after the date on which the Attorney General receives such information, the Attorney General shall determine whether or not the prospective transferee is the subject of an erroneous record and remove any records that are determined to be erroneous. In addition to any funds made available under subsection (k), the Attorney General may use such sums as are necessary and otherwise available for the salaries and expenses of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to comply with this subsection." 115 P.L. 141, 132 Stat. 348, 2018 Enacted H.R. 1625, 115 Enacted H.R. 1625.
Up until that date (and probably still continuing now), the FBI had stopped processing NICS appeals on at least one occasion in 2015 and "sporadically" conducted NICS appeals in 2016 and 2017. Well now there is a law that puts a timeline on the appeals process of 60 days. In theory at least.
This law was cited to in a filing in Umbert, et al. v. Sessions, et al. pending in the District of Columbia District Court. Many plaintiffs joined this lawsuit in order to have their appeals processed for either Title I firearms (regular pistols, rifles, shotguns) or Title II firearms (suppressors, short-barreled rifles, AOWs, etc) claiming that the FBI stopped processing appeals.
This case is extremely important because the FBI has taken the position that if you are denied a NICS check for an NFA item, they will not process the appeal. That is finally in the record. You can read that in the latest filing here. We are hopeful that the FBI decides to process appeals for NFA items. As we receive more information, we will publish it on this blog.