NICS firearms background checks in Washington state
National Instant Criminal Background Check System
State and federal laws require dealers run a background check prior to the sale of a firearm. Likewise, your local police department also runs a background check when you apply for a concealed pistol license. If you’ve been denied a firearm purchase or concealed pistol license, the most common reason is that you have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor, either as an adult or as a juvenile. This could be the triggering cause for your denial, even if you have passed background checks in the past. Law enforcement authorities have been cracking down in recent months and are digging up old criminal records that may not have come up before. It is not uncommon to be recently denied based on something that occurred 10-20+ years ago, even if you’ve never been denied before. If you have a criminal past (regardless of how long ago), you must restore your Washington state gun rights before you’ll clear a background check.
It’s also possible that you are not prohibited from possessing firearms, but the FBI thinks you are due to erroneous information. In that case, you have a couple of options, discussed below.
Firearms background check (NICS) appeal
If NICS returns a “deny” response, you can administratively appeal the denial with the FBI.
Suing NICS for erroneous denial of a firearm
If you have not lost your firearm rights or lost and restored them, but continue to be denied by NICS, there is one more option provided by 18 U.S.C. § 925A. You can file a lawsuit against the government for erroneous denial of a firearm, and the government could be made to pay your costs and attorney fees.