NICS Act Record Improvement Program


GOAL(S): To improve the FBI?s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by providing assistance to states to improve the completeness, automation and transmittal to state and federal systems the records utilized by the NICS. OBJECTIVE(S): Address the gap in information available to NICS about such prohibiting mental health adjudications and commitments and other prohibiting backgrounds. Keep guns out of the hands of persons prohibited by federal or state law from receiving or possessing firearms.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 See BJS website: See BJS website:
Fiscal Year 2017 See BJS website:
Fiscal Year 2018 See BJS website: The number of applications received in FY 2018 was 20. The number of awards made in 2018 was also 20. The anticipated number of applications in 2019 is 22 with the potential for all applications to be funded.
NICS Improvement Amendments Act, Public Law 115-141, 42 U.S.C. 40912
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applications must be submitted by (a) the agency designated by the Governor to administer the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP); (b) the state or territory central administrative office or similar entity designated by statute or regulation to administer federal grant funds on behalf of the jurisdiction's court system; or (c) a federally recognized Indian tribal government.
Beneficiary Eligibility
In accordance with the NICS Improvement Amendments Act (see 18 U.S.C. SS 922 note), there are two specific conditions that each state must satisfy before being eligible to receive grants: 1. First, "each State shall provide the Attorney General with a reasonable estimate, as calculated by a method determined by the Attorney General... of the number of the records" subject to the NIAA completeness requirements. (Id.) 2. Second, "to be eligible for a grant under this [program], a State shall certify, to the satisfaction of the Attorney General, that the State has implemented a relief from disabilities program." (Id.) For the purpose of this solicitation, a "relief from disabilities program" is a program that permits persons who have been adjudicated a mental defective or committed to a mental institution to obtain relief from the firearms disabilities imposed by law as a result of such adjudication or commitment. This relief must be based on a finding, in accordance with principles of due process, by a state court, board, commission, or other lawful authority, that the circumstances of the disability and the person's record and reputation are such that the person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public safety and that the granting of relief would not be contrary to the public interest. The certification form is available on the ATF website at For further information, please visit NICS Improvement Act Questions and Answers on the BJS website. Further, applications submitted on behalf of state court systems must specifically assure that: (1) the court system has the capability to contribute and will transmit pertinent information to the NICS established under section 103(b) of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (18 U.S.C. 922 note), and (2) that it will coordinate the programs proposed for NARIP funding with other federally funded information technology programs, including directly funded local programs.
The applicant must furnish all documentation required by the program solicitation, along with the application for an award, including; a detailed budget, a budget narrative, and a program narrative describing how funds would be utilized. Applicants must also furnish a NICS Record Improvement Plan as part of the application which reflects (a) the formation of a NICS Record Improvement Task Force, an assessment of the quality and availability of qualifying NICS records in the State, obstacles preventing full and complete transmission to the NICS of the available records, and strategies planned to address such challenges and achieve completeness goals.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. A potential grantee should contact the Headquarters Office, Devon B. Adams, NARIP Program Administrator, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20531; Telephone: (202) 307-0765, or E- mail:, to obtain a copy of the current program announcement. The Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applicants must submit completed applications via the Office of Justice Programs, Grants Management System or through following established criteria. The receipt, review, and analysis of applications will follow Office of Justice Programs policies and procedures for the administration of grant applications. Specific application instructions for solicitations are available at the Office of Justice Programs web site (
Award Procedure
An award is granted by the Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and must be accepted by the applicant agency or institution according to the special conditions of the grant or cooperative agreement. Successful applicants are notified via the Grants Management System. One copy of the grant award must be signed by the authorized official and returned to the Office of Justice Programs.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Approximately 120 days. Deadlines are included with the application instructions, which are posted on the Office of Justice Programs web site (
For statutory formula awards, see 28 C.F.R. Part 18. There are no appeal rights for rejection of a discretionary application, but for discretionary awards, see 28 C.F.R. Part 18.
Awards may be for up to 24 months.
How are proposals selected?
Criteria are described in the OJP Program Announcement available at
How may assistance be used?
The Act outlines the allowable uses of grant funds: Grants to States: Section 103 of the NICS Improvement Act, regarding implementation assistance to the states, provides that the grants "shall be used by the States and Indian tribal governments, in conjunction with units of local government and State and local courts, to establish or upgrade information and identification technologies for firearms eligibility determinations." In accordance with the Act, a grant to a state, territory or Indian tribes may only be used to: • Create electronic systems, which provide accurate and up-to-date information which is directly related to checks under the NICS, including court disposition and corrections records; • Assist states in establishing or enhancing their own capacities to perform NICS background checks; • Supply accurate and timely information to the Attorney General concerning final dispositions of criminal records to databases accessed by NICS; • Supply accurate and timely information to the Attorney General concerning the identity of persons who have a federally prohibiting mental health adjudication or commitment; • Supply accurate and timely court orders and records of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence for inclusion in federal and state law enforcement databases used to conduct NICS background checks; • Collect and analyze data needed to demonstrate levels of state compliance with the Act; and • Maintain the required relief from disabilities program in accordance with the Act – however, not less than 3 percent and no more than 10 percent of each grant shall be used for this purpose. State Court Grants Section 301 of the Act provides that grants shall be made to each state and territory, consistent with the state’s plans for the integration, automation, and accessibility of criminal history records, for use by the court systems to improve automation and transmittal to federal and state repositories of: (1) criminal history dispositions; (2) records relevant to determining whether a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or a prohibiting domestic violence protection order; and (3) prohibiting mental adjudications and commitments. Further, the law provides that the amounts granted shall be used by the state court system only to: • Carry out, as necessary, assessments of the capabilities of state courts to automate and transmit arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to federal and state record repositories; and • Implement policies, systems, procedures to automate and transmit arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to federal and state record repositories.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: To assist in fulfilling the Departments responsibilities under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), Public Law 103-62, and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, Public Law 111–352, recipients must provide data that measures the results of their work.
See 2 CFR 200 for audit requirements
See 2 C.F.R . SS 200.334 for the government-wide requirements for retention requirements for records.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Project duration period will be between 12 to 24 months. See the following information on how assistance is awarded/release: Office of Justice Programs' Financial Guide ( and Post Award Instructions ( Please contact the program office for furhter information. Please contact the program office for more information.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Devon B. Adams
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Statistics
810 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531 US
Phone: (202) 307-0765
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 18$20,993,105.00; FY 19 est $25,000,000.00; FY 20 est $10,000,000.00; FY 17$11,209,680.00; FY 16$0.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
See the current fiscal year's solicitation guidelines posted on the Office of Justice Programs web site at
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Department of Justice Grants Financial Guide ( and OJP Post award Instructions (, applicable OMB Circulars and regulations, and Department of Justice regulations applicable to specific types of grantees.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 See BJS website:
Fiscal Year 2017 See BJS website:


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