FBI restores NICS customer service line for retailers as background checks slow

The Federal Bureau of Investigation restored service to its customer service line earlier this month as the unprecedented surge in background checks from 2016 levels out.

The agency announced May 17 a dedicated phone line for retailers struggling with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System will operate noon until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Holly Morris, an FBI community outreach specialist, said Friday background check applications are “forecasted to be at a more manageable level,” allowing former staff to resume the service.

The agency cut the line last year and redirected its staff to assist with the record-breaking 27 million background checks completed in 2016. NICS applications so far this year lag about 1.1 million behind.

Retailers can also request assistance through the NICS FFL website, under the “Assisting with NICS processing” section.