How does the NICS check differ from the Check to get your Handgun Permit?
Federal law generally requires that licensed firearms dealers conduct a background check on all prospective firearms purchasers to ensure that such persons are not prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm. This background check requirement and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) were enacted through the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, pursuant to Public Law 103-159, and codified at 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq. Federal law defines a number of classes of prohibited purchasers (including felons, fugitives, persons adjudicated as “mental defectives” or those committed to mental institutions), and leaves to the states the power to determine additional classes. (For a complete list of federally prohibited purchasers, click here.)
Under the Brady Act, states have the option of serving as a “state point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using NICS and state informational records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only NICS. Federal law does not require that private sellers (persons other than firearms dealers) conduct background checks on prospective purchasers.
In Indiana, all firearms transfers by licensed dealers are processed directly through either the Indiana State Police (handguns) or the FBI (long guns; i.e., rifles and shotguns), which agency enforces the federal purchaser prohibitions referenced above. Bureau of Justice Statistics Survey of State Procedures Related to Firearm Sales, Midyear 2004 (August 2005). In addition, Indiana has adopted other classes of prohibited persons, and incorporated some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses.
Indiana Code Annotated § 35-47-2.5-4, as amended by 2006 Ind. House Enrolled Act No. 1176 prohibits a dealer from transferring a handgun to a person until the dealer has "contacted NICS...to request a background check," and "received authorization from NICS to transfer the handgun to the prospective purchaser."
Under section 35-47-2-7(b), a person may not transfer a handgun to an individual who the person has reasonable cause to believe:
Has been convicted of a felony or adjudicated a delinquent child for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, if the person seeking to obtain ownership or possession of the handgun is less than 23 years of age;
Is a drug abuser;
Is an alcohol abuser; or
Is mentally incompetent.
Any person convicted of domestic battery under section 35-42-2-1.3, or any person convicted of committing, attempting to commit, or conspiring to commit a serious violent felony, is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Sections 35-47-4-5, 35-47-4-6. For other provisions related to domestic violence and firearms, see sections 34-26-5-3 and 34-26-5-9.
Persons convicted of domestic battery under section 35-42-2-1.3 may not possess or carry a handgun under any circumstances, unless the person's right to possess a firearm has been restored under sections 3-7-13-5 or 33-28-4-8. Section 35-47-2-1(b).
Firearms transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) are not subject to background checks in Indiana, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions still apply. However, section 35-47-2-8 specifically notes that the handgun sales regulations under Chapter 35-47-2 (i.e., the prohibited purchaser prohibitions) apply equally to an occasional sale, trade, or transfer between individual persons and to retail transactions between dealers and individual persons. See the Indiana Private/Secondary Sales section.