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Presidential Memorandum -- Improving Availability of Relevant Executive Branch Records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

Presidential Memorandum -- Improving Availability of Relevant Executive Branch Records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

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Published by Matt Sullivan
A memorandum from the President for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies regarding improving availability of relevant Executive Branch records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
A memorandum from the President for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies regarding improving availability of relevant Executive Branch records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

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Published by: Matt Sullivan on Jan 16, 2013
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01/29/2014

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THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press SecretaryFor Immediate Release January 16, 2013January 16, 2013MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIESSUBJECT: Improving Availability of Relevant ExecutiveBranch Records to the National Instant CriminalBackground Check SystemSince it became operational in 1998, the National InstantCriminal Background Check System (NICS) has been an essentialtool in the effort to ensure that individuals who are prohibitedunder Federal or State law from possessing firearms do notacquire them from Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). Theability of the NICS to determine quickly and effectively whetheran individual is prohibited from possessing or receiving afirearm depends on the completeness and accuracy of theinformation made available to it by Federal, State, and tribalauthorities.The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (NIAA) (PublicLaw 110-180) was a bipartisan effort to strengthen the NICS byincreasing the quantity and quality of relevant records fromFederal, State, and tribal authorities accessible by the system.Among its requirements, the NIAA mandated that executivedepartments and agencies (agencies) provide relevantinformation, including criminal history records, certainadjudications related to the mental health of a person, andother information, to databases accessible by the NICS. Muchprogress has been made to identify information generated byagencies that is relevant to determining whether a person isprohibited from receiving or possessing firearms, but more mustbe done. Greater participation by agencies in identifyingrecords they possess that are relevant to determining whether anindividual is prohibited from possessing a firearm and aregularized process for submitting those records to the NICSwill strengthen the accuracy and efficiency of the NICS,increasing public safety by keeping guns out of the hands ofpersons who cannot lawfully possess them.Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by theConstitution and the laws of the United States of America, Ihereby direct the following:Section 1. Improving the Availability of Records to theNICS. (a) Within 45 days of the date of this memorandum, andconsistent with the process described in section 3 of this
 
2memorandum, the Department of Justice (DOJ) shall issue guidanceto agencies regarding the identification and sharing of relevantFederal records and their submission to the NICS.(b) Within 60 days of issuance of guidance pursuant tosubsection (a) of this section, agencies shall submit a reportto DOJ advising whether they possess relevant records, as setforth in the guidance, and setting forth an implementation planfor making information in those records available to the NICS,consistent with applicable law.(c) In accordance with the authority and responsibilityprovided to the Attorney General by the Brady Handgun ViolencePrevention Act (Public Law 103-159), as amended, the AttorneyGeneral, consistent with the process described in section 3 ofthis memorandum, shall resolve any disputes concerning whetheragency records are relevant and should be made available to theNICS.(d) To the extent they possess relevant records, as setforth in the guidance issued pursuant to subsection (a) of thissection, agencies shall prioritize making those recordsavailable to the NICS on a regular and ongoing basis.Sec. 2. Measuring Progress. (a) By October 1, 2013, andannually thereafter, agencies that possess relevant recordsshall submit a report to the President through the AttorneyGeneral describing:(i) the relevant records possessed by the agencythat can be shared with the NICS consistent withapplicable law;(ii) the number of those records submitted todatabases accessible by the NICS during each reportingperiod;(iii) the efforts made to increase the percentage ofrelevant records possessed by the agency that aresubmitted to databases accessible by the NICS;(iv) any obstacles to increasing the percentage ofrecords that are submitted to databases accessible bythe NICS;(v) for agencies that make qualifying adjudicationsrelated to the mental health of a person, the measuresput in place to provide notice and programs for relieffrom disabilities as required under the NIAA;(vi) the measures put in place to correct, modify,or remove records accessible by the NICS when thebasis under which the record was made available nolonger applies; and(vii) additional steps that will be taken within1 year of the report to improve the processes by whichrecords are identified, made accessible, andcorrected, modified, or removed.
 
3(b) If an agency certifies in its annual report that ithas made available to the NICS its relevant records that can beshared consistent with applicable law, and describes its plan tomake new records available to the NICS and to update, modify, orremove existing records electronically no less often thanquarterly as required by the NIAA, such agency will not berequired to submit further annual reports. Instead, the agencywill be required to submit an annual certification to DOJ,attesting that the agency continues to submit relevant recordsand has corrected, modified, or removed appropriate records.Sec. 3. NICS Consultation and Coordination Working Group.To ensure adequate agency input in the guidance required bysection 1(a) of this memorandum, subsequent decisions aboutwhether an agency possesses relevant records, and determinationsconcerning whether relevant records should be provided to theNICS, there is established a NICS Consultation and CoordinationWorking Group (Working Group), to be chaired by the AttorneyGeneral or his designee.(a) Membership. In addition to the Chair, the WorkingGroup shall consist of representatives of the followingagencies:(i) the Department of Defense;(ii) the Department of Health and Human Services;(iii) the Department of Transportation;(iv) the Department of Veterans Affairs;(v) the Department of Homeland Security;(vi) the Social Security Administration;(vii) the Office of Personnel Management;(viii) the Office of Management and Budget; and(ix) such other agencies or offices as the Chairmay designate.(b) Functions. The Working Group shall convene regularlyand as needed to allow for consultation and coordination betweenDOJ and agencies affected by the Attorney General'simplementation of the NIAA, including with respect to theguidance required by section 1(a) of this memorandum, subsequentdecisions about whether an agency possesses relevant records,and determinations concerning whether relevant records should beprovided to the NICS. The Working Group may also consider, asappropriate:(i) developing means and methods for identifyingagency records deemed relevant by DOJ's guidance;(ii) addressing obstacles faced by agencies inmaking their relevant records available to the NICS;(iii) implementing notice and relief fromdisabilities programs; and

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