Background Check Issues

Utah is warning that it needs more funding for its state background check system or “it could be forced to cut off all background checks next year unless lawmakers prop up its anemic budget.” The problem with this is you have a constitutional right hinging on the smooth operation of the system. I can’t think of any better way to get background checks thrown out than states messing with the system and causing real infringements on the exercise of the right.

Utah is among the states that are Points-of-Contact for the purposes of the Brady Act, meaning their state system serves as a substitute for the NICS check. One way Utah, and other states, could save money during these difficult times is by eliminating their state systems and relying solely on the federal NICS system. Most states rely on the federal system.

4 thoughts on “Background Check Issues”

  1. During the lobby day i made a point to ask the few actual representatives we met why PA uses a state system and why we spend lots of money on a shady, back hand registry. my thought was the Legislature just went through a bruising budgetary battle and there was still lots of money to be saved by eliminating the redundant PICS system and the shady “Purchase Database.” i plan on continuing to push this going forward.

  2. I think understanding POCs comes from understanding why we have the Instant Check system at all. It was essentially a means to defeat the major argument for a waiting period. The waiting period was law until the point where the Instant Check systems were in place, and many states got their systems up before the feds, IIRC. They are in that sense an artifact of the original compromises that were forced on us with the Brady Act. There’s no reason for the POC system to exist today, IMHO.

  3. I live in Utah now. Two things to note:

    1) The BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigations) handles not only permits, but checks for state employees, prospective teachers, and other personnel in sensitive positions. My family’s never had an issue with the system (and we’ve been run through the ringer 4 times; two CFP’s, employment in Juvenile Justice Services, teaching certification).

    2) BCI funding is dictated not by the permit fee, but is set by legislative fiat. Thus, additional background check fees go into the state general fund and not to fund BCI specifically. Given that the system actually makes the state money and is better than the federal system (you can clear up confusion a heckuva lot quicker with the state system than the federal system), it’s unlikely it’ll be de-funded. Th

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