U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

State Progress in Record Reporting for Firearm-Related Background Checks: Protection Order Submissions

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2016
12 pages
This report provides background information and examples related to how States are facilitating firearm-related background checks that identify persons named in protection orders who are prohibited from owning a firearm.
In 1994, Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act, which requires all U.S. States and territories to give "full faith and credit" to all valid orders of protection issued by other jurisdictions. It is important that protection orders be entered into the Protection Order File of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), since this is the best way to ensure that a record of its existence can be confirmed by law enforcement agencies across the Nation. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is mandated under the Brady Act, is used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to receive firearms or explosives. Protection orders that do not qualify for entry into the NCIC may be placed in the NICS Index. Unlike NCIC entries, protection orders in the NICS Index do not require 24/7 hit confirmations, and they are not subject to the same rigorous validation rules of the NCIC. Several States have improved protection-order reporting over the past few years, and Federal grant funds have enabled States to develop strategies for overcoming the barriers to reporting protection orders to NCIC. Examples of such strategies are presented in this report for West Virginia, New York, Nebraska, and Hawaii.

Date Published: April 1, 2016