Reports have flooded in from gun stores that they are having trouble processing the backlog of background checks from the recent gun sale boom driven by coronavirus panic.
We've heard reports that on Monday and Tuesday, the Nevada Dept. of Public Safety Point of Contact (POC) Firearms Unit background check hotline shut down at 2PM. Various reasons were cited including the state of emergency declaration and that the staff was going home or staying home due to the coronavirus.
Here's what DPS said about the 2PM closure:
They are open 7 days a week from 8am – 6pm, however will temporarily change the call-in hours to 8am-2pm in order to process and conduct research for the current volume of background requests.
The afternoon hours after 2PM will be used to do research on checks that don't come back instantly clear. Once the background check is run, the state has three days to issue a denial or the sale is automatically approved under federal law. The DPS POC normally has 17 people. There are currently 6 vacancies.
To alleviate call volume, there is also a fax number for dealers to use.
The POC Unit also utilizes a fax number to receive background requests, which has always been a service and option for FFLs. Fax in requests are 24/7, and the requests are processed expeditiously during normal business hours.
Huge spike in background checks
I'll let the numbers speak for themselves:
It's good to hear that DPS is still cranking out the background checks and staying open during the emergency. Our gun stores are doing a yeoman's work selling guns to people who should have already had them.
Be sure to check out Nevada's own Mike Searson's article on Recoilweb.com. He's a frequent contributor to the print magazine and many other titles you see on your bookstore shelves (which are now closed). Here's what he had to say about the calls over the last few days:
Firearm sales numbers are always difficult to nail down definitively, but at least in Nevada, calls into the state’s background check system have been taking in excess of 2 hours. At certain times after waiting for 30 minutes or more a message tells the dealer that the queue is full and disconnects the line, causing them to call back in and having to wait again.