Michael Bowling, Ph.D.
Regional Justice Information Service
Matthew J. Hickman, Ph.D.
Devon B. Adams
Bureau of Justice Statistics
The Brady Handgun Violence Preven-
tion Act (Brady Act) mandates criminal
history background checks on persons
applying to purchase firearms from
federally licensed firearm dealers,
Federal Firearm Licensees (FFL's).
This Bulletin reports the number of
applications for firearm transfers and
permits, rejections that resulted from
background checks, and reasons for
rejection for selected States during
The permanent provisions of the Brady
Act became effective on November 30,
1998. The act established the National
Instant Criminal Background Check
System (NICS) and requires a back-
ground check by the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) or a State point
of contact (POC) on persons applying
to receive firearms from an FFL.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
began the Firearm Inquiry Statistics
(FIST) program in 1995 to collect infor-
mation on background checks
conducted by State and local agencies.
The State and local data C when
combined with FBI NICS data C
provide national estimates of the total
number of applications and rejections
resulting from the Brady Act and similar
• From the inception of the Brady Act
on February 29, 1994, to December
31, 2004, more than 61 million appli-
cations for firearm transfers or permits
were subject to background checks.
About 1,228,000 were rejected.
• Total applications for firearm trans-
fers or permits increased 3.2% nation-
wide, from 7,831,000 in 2003 to
8,084,000 in 2004.
• State and local agencies conducted
background checks on 42% of the
total applications for firearm transfers
or permits in 2004, while the FBI was
responsible for the remainder.
• In 2004, 126,000 (1.6%) of approxi-
mately 8,084,000 applications for
firearm transfers or permits were
rejected by the FBI or State and local
• In 2004 the rejection rate for applica-
tions checked by the FBI (1.4%) was
lower than that for check