Types of Background Checks


Can I Check The Status of my Gun Background Check?

status of my gun background check

Navigating the process of acquiring a firearm often leads to a common question: can I check the status of my gun background check? For many, this query stems from a desire to ensure everything is progressing smoothly and to anticipate any potential issues.

Understanding the status of your background check is crucial, especially when considering the legal implications and safety concerns surrounding gun ownership. The background check serves as a vital step in ensuring only eligible individuals gain access to firearms, just as a business background check ensures the right hires for a company.

Yes, you can check the status of your gun background check. It’s essential to stay informed and ensure the process is progressing as expected.

If you’re wondering, ‘Can I check the status of my gun background check’, you’re in the right place. We’ll guide you through the process, help you understand any delays, and give you tips for a smooth experience. So, let’s get started and get you that green light you’re looking for!

Understanding Gun Background Checks

Every time you buy a firearm, you must undergo a federal background check. The gun background check system, known as the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), is designed to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms. It’s a criminal background check that verifies your eligibility through databases of criminal records. The firearm background checks are a crucial part of the background check process to ensure public safety.

Unfortunately, you can’t personally check the status of your gun background check. The licensed dealer handling your firearm purchase conducts the check and receives the results.

Now that you understand gun background checks, let’s move on to the typical duration of background checks.

Typical Duration of Background Checks

status of gun background check

While the background check process isn’t something you can personally monitor. It’s crucial to know what to expect in terms of its typical duration.

When you submit your background check requests to a firearms dealer, they, in turn, send it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The FBI then reviews your criminal history records. Most checks are completed within a few minutes, but some may take longer. If the FBI needs to research your background thoroughly, the process can stretch out to three business days.

However, if your background check hasn’t been cleared after three business days, the dealer has the discretion to proceed with the sale.

Yet, it’s important to remember that each case varies and can depend on multiple factors.

How to Check the Status of Your Gun Background Check?

gun background check

Checking status with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a crucial system used by Federal Firearms Dealers to determine if a prospective buyer is eligible to purchase firearms. When you apply for a firearm, the dealer will initiate a background check through NICS.

Steps to check status with NICS:

  1. When you apply for a firearm, you will receive a NICS Transaction Number. Keep this number safe.
  2. Access the Gun Background Check System online portal. Here, you can enter your transaction number to check the status.
  3. If there are any issues, such as Background Check Program Issues or Check Program Issues Approvals, they will be highlighted. It’s essential to understand that issues might arise due to various reasons, including Criminal Charges, Dishonorable Discharge, or even Domestic Violence records.

Checking status with the State of California Department of Justice

The State of California Department of Justice has its own Bureau Of Firearms which oversees firearm transactions in the state. They ensure that individuals who have a Misdemeanor Crime, Dishonorable Discharge, or are an Unlawful User do not get access to firearms.

Steps to check status with the California DOJ:

  1. When purchasing a firearm in California, especially through Private Sellers or during a Private-Party Transfer, the Firearm Transfer Application is used.
  2. After submitting the application, you will receive an Applicant Transaction Identifier. This identifier is crucial for checking the status of your application.
  3. Visit the California DOJ’s online portal dedicated to Firearms Rights and Gun Rights. Enter your identifier to view the status of your Handgun License Application or any other Type Of License application.

Checking status with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) plays a pivotal role in the Fingerprint Background Check Process. They conduct an FBI Fingerprint-Based Background Check to ensure that the applicant does not have any Criminal History Records that would disqualify them from owning a firearm.

Steps to check status with the FBI:

  1. Upon initiating a background check, you will be provided with an APPLICANT NAME CHECK number.
  2. Access the FBI’s Dealer Portal. As a Dealer User, you can check the status of multiple applications if you’re a dealer, or just your own if you’re an individual.
  3. If there are any discrepancies or issues, such as a Crime Punishable by imprisonment or any Charge Level that disqualifies firearm ownership, they will be highlighted.

Checking status using a License Number:

For some jurisdictions or specific types of firearms, you can also check the status of background check with the license number. This unique identifier can be used to track the status of your background check.

Steps to check status with a License Number:

  • Upon initiating a background check, you might be provided with a License Number associated with your application.
  • Access the relevant online portal or contact the issuing authority directly.
  • Enter your License Number to check the status of your background check.
  • Discrepancies or issues will highlight, and you can address them with the necessary steps.

Remember, while the process might seem tedious, these checks are in place to ensure the safety of all citizens and to prevent Gun Violence and potential Mass Shootings. Always ensure that your Current Address and Current Residence Address are updated in all applications to avoid any delays. If there are any issues, you can always file an Appeal Of Denial using the provided Appeal Form.

Reasons for Delays in Gun Background Checks

working on gun background check

Gun background checks are a critical component of the firearm purchasing process, ensuring that firearms do not end up in the hands of individuals who might pose a threat to society. However, there can be delays in this process, which can be frustrating for potential buyers. Let’s delve into the common reasons for these delays and what steps can be taken if your background check is delayed.

Common reasons for delays:

  1. Incomplete or Missing Court Records: One of the primary reasons for delays is incomplete or missing court records. If an individual has participated in a legal case, especially those concerning Domestic Violence, Misdemeanor Crime, or has received a Dishonorable Discharge, they must ensure that the court completes and accesses all documents related to the case.

  2. Missing information can cause the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to delay the approval until they receive the necessary details.
  3. Criminal Charges and Arrest Records: If an individual has Criminal Charges or Arrest Records, especially those not yet resolved, it can cause a delay. The NICS or the Bureau Of Criminal Information And Analysis will need to verify the Charge Level and whether the Crime Punishable is a disqualifying factor.
  4. Issues with Personal Descriptors: Sometimes, delays can occur due to mismatches or issues with Personal Descriptors. This includes discrepancies in Current Address, Current Identification, or even the Identification Card provided.
  5. Foreign Government Involvement: If an individual has records or associations with a Foreign Government. Additional checks might be required, leading to delays.
  6. Pending FBI Fingerprint-Based Background Check: Sometimes, the FBI Fingerprint-Based Background Check might be pending due to a high volume of checks or issues with the Fingerprint Background Check Process.
  7. Other Common Reasons: Other reasons can include a backlog in the Gun Background Check System, issues with the Firearm Dealer or Federal Firearms Dealers, or even system outages.

What to do if your background check is delayed:

  1. Stay Patient: Understand that the delay is for safety reasons. The Bureau Of Firearms and other Law Enforcement Agencies want to ensure that firearms are sold responsibly.
  2. Check Online: Most agencies, including the NICS, offer online portals where individuals can check the status using their NICS Transaction Number or Applicant Transaction Identifier.
  3. Contact the Relevant Authorities: While you’ve mentioned not to include contact information, it’s essential to know that each agency, be it the NICS, State of California Department of Justice, or the FBI, has dedicated helplines or contact points for individuals to inquire about delays.
  4. Provide Additional Information: If there’s a request for additional information, such as proof of Current Residence Address or Proof Of Address, ensure you provide it promptly.
  5. Appeal if Necessary: If your background check results in a denial, you have the right to appeal. Utilize the Appeal Form provided by the respective agency. Understand the reasons for denial, which could range from Court-Ordered Mental Health Services to issues with Criminal Justice Records.
  6. Seek Legal Advice: If you believe there’s an unwarranted delay or denial, consider seeking Legal Advice. A legal expert can guide you through the process and ensure your Firearms Rights and Gun Rights are upheld.

In conclusion, while delays can be frustrating, they are in place to ensure the safety of the public. Being proactive, patient, and understanding the reasons can help navigate the process more smoothly.

Tips for a Smooth Background Check Process

gun background checks service

Ensuring your background check’s smooth progression involves taking certain proactive steps. As you prepare for your firearm transaction, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Prepare Your Information: Accuracy is key in speeding up your criminal history background check. Ensure your identification details match across all documents. Be ready to provide your social security number, if asked.
  • Understand the Process: Gun dealers follow a strict process, guided by the FBI fingerprint-based background check system. Learn about the steps involved. Familiarize yourself with possible reasons for delays.


So, you’re waiting anxiously to hear back on your gun background check, aren’t you? Remember, patience is key. Delays can happen, but don’t worry. You’ve got the tools to check your status and handle any issues that arise.

Follow these tips, ensure your process is smooth, and soon you’ll have your answer. Until then, sit tight. The answer is on the way.


Why do NICS background checks take so long?

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) ensures that prohibited individuals don’t receive firearms. Delays can occur due to several reasons: verifying Criminal Charges, cross-referencing Arrest Records. Ensuring no Dishonorable Discharge or Domestic Violence records, and checking against Criminal Justice Records. Additionally, high volumes of checks or system outages can also contribute to the wait time.

Can I run a NICS check on myself?

Yes, individuals can request a personal NICS check to see their own records. This is often done to ensure accuracy in the records or before attempting to purchase a firearm. However, the process might differ from the standard background check run by Federal Firearms Dealers.

Why am I always delayed on a gun purchase?

Consistent delays in gun purchases can be due to incomplete or missing Personal Descriptors, issues with Current Address verification, or recurring flags in Criminal History Records. Additionally, if there’s a common name that matches a prohibited individual or if there are unresolved Criminal Charges, it can lead to repeated delays. It’s advisable to check and ensure all personal information is accurate and up-to-date.

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