Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 196 (Wednesday, October 9, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 196 (Wednesday, October 9, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54175-54181]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-21583]
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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
[CPCLO Order No. 010-2019]
Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records
AGENCY: Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of
Justice.
ACTION: Notice of a Modified System of Records.
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SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 and Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-108, notice is hereby given that the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a component within the United
States Department of Justice (DOJ or Department), proposes to modify a
system of records notice titled the National Instant Criminal
Background Check System (NICS), JUSTICE/FBI-018. The FBI proposes to
consolidate and replace the following previous SORNs related to NICS:
``National Instant Criminal Background Check System/FBI-018,''
published at 63 FR 65223 (Nov. 25, 1998), 65 FR 78190 (Dec. 14, 2000),
66 FR 6676 (Jan. 22, 2001), 66 FR 8425 (Jan. 31, 2001), 66 FR 12959
(Mar. 1, 2001), and 82 FR 24147 (May 25, 2017). This notice also
updates the ``PURPOSE(S) OF THE SYSTEM,'' ``CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS
COVERED BY THE SYSTEM,'' ``CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM,'' and
``ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING
CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES'' of the SORN.
DATES: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4) and (11), the public has
30 days in which to comment on the routine uses, described below.
Therefore, please submit any comments by November 8, 2019.
ADDRESSES: The public, OMB, and Congress are invited to submit any
[[Page 54176]]
comments: By mail to the Department of Justice, Office of Privacy and
Civil Liberties, ATTN: Privacy Analyst, 145 N St. NE, Suite 8W-300,
Washington, DC 20530; by facsimile at 202-307-0693; or by email at
[email protected]. To ensure proper handling, please
reference the above CPCLO Order No. on your correspondence.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Katherine M. Bond, Assistant General
Counsel, Privacy and Civil Liberties Unit, Office of the General
Counsel, FBI, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20535-0001;
telephone (202) 324-3000.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    The NICS system notice has been amended on several occasions to
reflect changes in law and corresponding routine uses. The FBI proposes
to consolidate, revise, and update the NICS SORN as required by changes
in statutes, regulations, and practice. Proposed changes to the NICS
SORN include updating the following sections: ``PURPOSE(S) OF THE
SYSTEM,'' ``CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM,''
``CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM,'' and ``ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS
MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE
PURPOSES OF SUCH USE''. Due to the number of revisions to this SORN and
for ease of reference, the FBI is republishing it here, as revised, in
its entirety.
    The FBI is revising the ``PURPOSE(S) OF THE SYSTEM'' section of the
notice (1) to provide information regarding additional databases that
are used during NICS checks of non-U.S. citizens, (2) to clarify that
the NICS System also maintains records for appeal purposes, and (3) to
explain that the NICS System provides investigative support to law
enforcement agencies that investigate, prosecute, and/or enforce
violations of criminal or civil laws or regulations that may come to
light during the NICS operation.
    In addition, the FBI has revised the ``CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS
COVERED BY THE SYSTEM'' section of the notice by dividing the former
Category L into distinct covered categories for subjects of background
checks, appellants, and individuals who have opted into the Voluntary
Appeal File. The FBI has also added two categories to cover individuals
maintained in the NICS System for law enforcement disclosures as set
forth in Routine Use C. An additional category of individuals--and
corresponding category of records--has been added to reflect the
maintenance of records on individuals who have been granted relief from
a firearm disability by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF). Maintaining information on individuals granted relief
from a firearm disability allows the NICS more expeditiously to approve
firearm transfers to these individuals.
    The ``CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM'' section of the notice
has been updated to provide more clarity on the types of information
the NICS may have on individuals, including the fact that the NICS may
contain fingerprints. Fingerprints maintained in the NICS are
voluntarily provided by individuals and are used to confirm whether a
prospective transferee or appellant matches an individual with a
criminal history in the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System.
The ``CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM'' section is also being
updated to include the Voluntary Appeal File, which contains
information about individuals who have provided the FBI with written
consent to maintain such information so that NICS will not erroneously
deny or extensively delay a future firearm transfer; as well as a
table, which contains biographic information about individuals under
investigation by a law enforcement agency which investigates,
prosecutes, and/or enforces violations of criminal or civil laws or
regulations that may come to light during the NICS operation.
Maintaining identities of individuals within the table allows the NICS
to better fulfill its public safety mission and disseminate information
under Routine Use C.
    Several routine uses have been updated to provide more clarity on
the application of existing routine uses. The ``ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS
MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE
PURPOSES OF SUCH USES'' section has also been consolidated to include
all existing routine uses that apply to records in the NICS.
Furthermore, three new routine uses have been added. The first new
routine use (Routine Use N) permits disclosures to parties during
litigation and is an extension of the existing routine use to provide
information to courts during litigation.This routine use ensures that
individuals challenging NICS action have access to relevant and
appropriate information in the NICS. The second new routine use
(Routine Use O) permits disclosures as required or allowed by Federal
regulation, statute, or treaty. This routine use has been added to
reinforce the fact that the FBI discloses information pursuant to
Federal law. The third new routine use (Routine Use P) provides greater
clarity on the types of agencies and entities the FBI may contact while
conducting research to determine whether an individual may be
prohibited from receiving a firearm, explosive, or related permit.
Information disseminated under Routine Use P is limited to the
information necessary to elicit from the receiving entity information
to assist the NICS section in finalizing a NICS transaction. The FBI
will share information from NICS pursuant to the requirements of the
Privacy Act, Brady Act, corresponding federal regulations or statutes,
and when the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the
information was collected.
    The FBI is also adding more detail in sections such as the ``SYSTEM
LOCATION'' section and the ``RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES'' section. The
``POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR RETENTION AND DISPOSAL OF RECORDS''
section has been modified to provide the record retention schedule job
number as assigned by the National Archives and Record Administration
(NARA). By referencing the NARA job numbers, individuals will be able
to access the actual record retention schedule, which will provide the
most complete and up-to-date record retention schedule for the NICS.
The ``RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES'' and ``CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES''
sections have been updated to reflect the current FBI process for
accessing and contesting records. References to the NICS Index have
been changed to the NICS Indices to reflect an FBI name change to the
database. Other stylistic changes have been made to the notice to
conform to the new requirements of OMB Circular A-108.
    Despite changes to the system as described in this notice, the FBI
continues to assert, and is not changing the Privacy Act exemptions for
the system set forth in 28 CFR Sec.  16.96(p) and (q). As stated in the
regulations, these Privacy Act exemptions apply only to the extent that
information in the system is within the scope of 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2),
(k)(2), or (k)(3), and to the extent it is, the rationale for asserting
the exemptions has not changed.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), the Department has provided a
report to OMB and Congress on this notice of a modified system of
records.
[[Page 54177]]
    Dated: September 30, 2019.
Peter Winn,
Acting Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer, United States
Department of Justice.
JUSTICE/FBI-018
SYSTEM NAME AND NUMBER:
    National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), JUSTICE/
FBI-018
SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:
    Unclassified.
SYSTEM LOCATION:
    Records are maintained at the FBI Criminal Justice Information
Services (CJIS) Division, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, West
Virginia 26306, but may be accessible electronically from any location
at which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates or at which
FBI operations are supported, including: J. Edgar Hoover Building, 935
Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20535-0001; FBI Academy and FBI
Laboratory, Quantico, Virginia 22135; and FBI field offices, legal
attaches, information technology centers, and other components listed
on the FBI's internet website, http://www.fbi.gov. Some or all system
information may also be duplicated at other locations for purposes of
system backup, emergency preparedness, and/or continuity of operations.
Records may also be maintained in secure cloud computing environments.
The cloud computing service provider on the date of this publication is
Amazon Web Services, located at 12900 Worldgate Drive, Herndon, VA
20170. Cloud computing service providers may change. For information
about the current cloud computing service provider, please contact the
Unit Chief, Privacy and Civil Liberties Unit, Office of the General
Counsel, FBI, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20535-0001;
telephone 202-324-3000.
SYSTEM MANAGER(S):
    Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover FBI
Building, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20535-0001.
AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:
    18 U.S.C. 922, as amended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention
Act (the ``Brady Act'') (Pub. L. 103-159, Nov. 30, 1993, codified in
relevant part at 18 U.S.C. 922(t) and 34 U.S.C. 40901); the NICS
Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-180, Jan. 8, 2008);
Consolidated Appropriations Act (``Fix NICS Act of 2018'') (Pub. L.
115-141, March 23, 2018, codified in relevant part at 34 U.S.C. 40901);
28 U.S.C. 534, as amended (Pub. L. 103-322, Title IV, 4060(a), Sep. 13,
1994, 105 Stat. 1950); and 28 CFR part 25 Subpart A.
PURPOSE(S) OF THE SYSTEM:
    The purpose of the NICS, which was established pursuant to the
Brady Act, is to provide the means of checking available information to
determine immediately whether a person is disqualified from possessing
a firearm under Federal or State law.
    Prior to the transfer of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee
(FFL), a prospective transferee, who is not licensed under 18 U.S.C.
923, must obtain a firearms transaction form from an FFL and provide
the information required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives (ATF), Department of Justice. The completed firearms
transaction form is returned to the FFL, who is required by the Brady
Act to contact the NICS and furnish the name and certain other
identifying data provided by the transferee prior to completing the
transaction and transferring the firearm. NICS conducts a search which
compares the information about the transferee with information in or
available to the NICS.
    The NICS Section or a Point of Contact (POC)--a State or local law
enforcement agency serving as an intermediary between the FFL and the
Federal databases checked by NICS--receives inquiries from FFLs;
initiates NICS background searches; checks--if needed--available
Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign, international, and/or other
pertinent databases or sources; determines whether prospective
transferee records match any available information; determines whether
matching records provide information demonstrating that an individual
is disqualified from possessing a firearm under Federal or State law;
and responds back to the FFLs.
    In addition to a review of the NICS Indices (formerly known as the
NICS Index), every NICS search includes a review of the pre-existing,
separately-managed FBI databases of the National Crime Information
Center (NCIC) (JUSTICE/FBI-001) and the Next Generation Identification
(NGI) System (JUSTICE/FBI-009), to the extent such searches are
possible with the available information. NCIC and NGI are cooperative
Federal-State programs for the exchange of criminal history record and
other information among criminal justice agencies. The search conducted
of NCIC and NGI, in conjunction with the search of the NICS Indices, is
to determine whether information indicating that an individual firearm
transferee is identical to an individual in one or more of categories A
through J listed below under the heading ``CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS IN
THE SYSTEM.''
    The Attorney General directed the FBI to work with the Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check the immigration
status of all non-United States citizens who are firearms purchasers.
When an FFL contacts the FBI NICS Section, the FFL will be asked
whether the prospective buyer is a United States citizen. If the
prospective buyer is not a United States citizen, the FBI NICS Section
will contact ICE to request a search of ICE databases to determine
whether the alien is illegally or unlawfully in the United States or
whether the individual is a non-immigrant alien and therefore
prohibited from receiving a firearm (unless he or she falls within an
exception to the non-immigrant alien prohibition).
    In addition to maintaining records to assist with NICS checks of
potential firearm and explosives transferees, NICS maintains records to
process appeals, to ensure individuals who have prevailed on appeal are
not delayed in receiving a permissible firearm, and to provide
investigative support to law enforcement agencies which investigate,
prosecute, and/or enforce violations of criminal or civil laws or
regulations that may come to light during operation of the NICS.
CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:
    The categories of individuals covered by the system include any
person who:
    A. Is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of,
a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
    B. Is a fugitive from justice;
    C. Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
    D. Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed
to a mental institution;
    E. Is an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States
or who has been admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant
visa;
    F. Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable
conditions;
    G. Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced such
citizenship;
    H. Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from
harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of
such intimate partner (issued after a hearing of which actual notice
was received);
    I. Has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of
domestic
[[Page 54178]]
violence (involving the use or attempted use of physical force
committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the
victim or by a person with a similar relationship with the victim);
    J. Is otherwise disqualified from possessing a firearm under State
law;
    K. Is or claims to be a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), (i.e., a
person licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF), Department of Justice, as a manufacturer, dealer, or
importer of firearms), or an authorized representative or contact
person of an FFL;
    L. Has applied for the transfer of a firearm, explosive, or a
related permit or license, or has otherwise had his or her name
forwarded to the NICS as part of a request for a NICS background check
as authorized by 28 CFR part 25 or other Federal law. (Identifying
information about this category of individuals is maintained for system
administration and security purposes in the ``NICS Audit Log,'' a
system transaction log described below under the headings ``CATEGORIES
OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM'');
    M. Has requested the reason for a firearm transfer denial or delay
from the FBI, or from a law enforcement agency serving as a POC state,
and/or challenged the accuracy or validity of a disqualifying record,
or otherwise inquired about a NICS transaction. (Identifying
information about this category of individuals may be maintained in
appeal files);
    N. Has provided the FBI with written consent to maintain
information about himself or herself in the Voluntary Appeal File;
    O. Has been granted relief from a firearms or explosives-related
disability and/or granted a pardon. For example, in order to permit
faster evaluation and approval of future transactions, NICS may
maintain information on individuals who have been granted relief by ATF
from firearms or explosive disabilities, as well as information on
individuals who have been granted a Presidential pardon;
    P. Is under investigation by a law enforcement agency which
investigates, prosecutes, and/or enforces violations of criminal or
civil laws or regulations that may come to light during operation of
the NICS;
    Q. Is employed by a law enforcement agency which investigates,
prosecutes, and/or enforces violations of criminal or civil laws or
regulations that may come to light during operation of the NICS; or
    R. Processes NICS transactions or has access to the NICS.
CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:
    Records in the NICS may include biographic and biometric
information about the categories of individuals above under the heading
``CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM,'' such as name,
phone number, address, email address, sex, race, date of birth, state
of residence, a unique identifying number (such as a Social Security
number, military number, or number assigned by Federal, State, local,
or other authorities), other personal descriptive data (such as height,
weight, eye and hair color, and place of birth), and fingerprints. The
NICS also contains information about individuals collected while
researching whether a potential transferee is prohibited by Federal or
State law from receiving a firearm, explosive, or related permit. This
includes documents received from criminal justice and other agencies or
entities (e.g. arrest reports, court transcripts, disposition
information, involuntary commitments, and court orders).
    The ``NICS Indices'' is a database maintained by the FBI that was
created specifically for the NICS. The NICS Indices contains records
obtained by the Attorney General from Federal, State, local, tribal,
foreign, and international agencies/organizations, or other entities on
individuals who fall into the categories of individuals listed above
under the heading ``CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM'' A
through J. These records may contain an individual's name; sex; race;
and other personal descriptive data; complete date of birth; state of
residence; sometimes a unique identifying number, such as a Social
Security number (but NICS does not require it to be furnished), a
military number, or a number assigned by Federal, State, local, or
other authorities; and other descriptors and information supporting an
entry into the NICS Indices, such as information collected as a result
of arrest, conviction, incarceration, or involuntary commitment.
    The ``NICS Audit Log'' is a chronological record of system
(computer) activities that enables the reconstruction and examination
of a sequence of events and/or changes in an event related to the NICS.
With regard to a specific NICS transaction, the audit log will include:
The name and other identifying information about the prospective
transferee; the type of transaction (inquiry or response); transaction
code data elements (e.g., line number and header); time; date of
inquiry; Originating Agency Identifier and FFL identifier; inquiry/
response data, such as an assigned NICS Transaction Number (NTN) (a
unique number assigned to each valid background request inquiry);
information found by the NICS Section during research; and the reason
for a denial, if an individual is denied. Audio recordings of phone
calls from FFLs may also be attached to the corresponding NICS
transaction and maintained in the audit log until the transaction
purges. In cases of allowed transfers, all identifying information
submitted by or on behalf of the transferee in the NICS Audit Log,
other than the FFL identity, the NTN, purpose code, source, date of
notification, and the date and time the NTN was assigned will be
destroyed not more than 24 hours after the FFL receives communication
of the determination that the transfer may proceed. All other
information, except the NTN and the date it was created will be
destroyed after not more than 90 days from the date of the inquiry.
    In addition, the NICS contains information on entities or persons
that are FFLs (or claim to be). This information includes the FFL name,
address, phone numbers, ATF number, access code words, email addresses,
date of birth, user names, names of authorized representatives and
contact persons, and similar information used by the NICS to identify,
validate, and communicate with FFLs in the course of NICS operations.
    The NICS also contains ``appeals records'' which reflect inquiries
by individuals regarding the reason for a delay or denial by the FBI or
a POC state, and/or challenges to the accuracy or validity of a
disqualifying record, or other types of inquiries made by individuals
about a NICS transaction. Appeal records include biographic and
biometric records on individuals.
    The NICS contains, in the Voluntary Appeal File, record information
about individuals who have provided the FBI with written consent to
maintain such information so that NICS will not erroneously deny or
extensively delay a future firearm transfer. Records in the Voluntary
Appeal File may include, but are not limited to, biographic information
(e.g. name, address, email address, social security number, and date of
birth), fingerprint cards, photographs, court documentation,
correspondence, and information contained in the applicant's appeal
file, if one exists.
    The NICS also contains records of individuals who have been granted
relief from a firearms or explosive-related disability and/or granted a
[[Page 54179]]
pardon. This information may include an individual's name, date of
birth, social security number, race, gender, height, weight, and other
identification numbers and personal descriptors.
    The NICS maintains a table that contains biographic information
about individuals described in ``CATEGORY OF INDIVIDUALS'' P above
(e.g. name, date of birth, social security number, other personal
descriptive data) and contact information for individuals described in
``CATEGORY OF INDIVIDUALS'' Q above (such as name and email address).
RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:
    Information contained in the NICS is obtained from individual
persons as well as Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign, and
international agencies or organizations.
ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES
OF USERS AND PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:
    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C.
552a(b), all or a portion of the records or information contained in
this system of records may be disclosed as a routine use pursuant to 5
U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) under the circumstances or for the purposes described
below, to the extent such disclosures are compatible with the purposes
for which the information was collected.
    A. Limited information may be provided by a POC state or the NICS
Section to an FFL who has contacted the NICS concerning a prospective
firearm transferee. If a matching record found by the NICS provides
information demonstrating that the prospective transferee is
disqualified from possessing a firearm under Federal or State law, the
FFL will be notified only that the application is ``denied,'' with none
of the underlying information provided. If additional record analysis
is required by the NICS representative (e.g., to confirm that a record
relates to the potential transferee or to pursue supplemental
information to clarify whether the potential transferee is disqualified
from receiving a firearm), the response will read ``delayed'' and will
include the NICS-determined date after which the FFL may lawfully
transfer the firearm if the FFL has not received a final determination
status from NICS. If no disqualifying record is located by the NICS,
the FFL will be told that it may ``proceed.'' A unique identification
number will be provided to the FFL for all responses received from the
NICS, which number shall be recorded on the firearms transaction form.
If an FFL is unable to provide the information required to conduct a
NICS check or for other reasons (e.g., the NICS detects false entries
have been made on the ATF 4473 that are not grounds for a deny
response), then the NICS check is discontinued and the FFL will be
provided with a ``canceled'' response.
    B. Information from the NICS-checked databases may be provided to
Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial criminal justice
agencies and organizations, including POC states and contributors of
information to the NICS Indices, to enable them to determine whether
the transfer of a firearm to any person not licensed under 18 U.S.C.
923 would be in violation of Federal or State law; whether the issuance
of a license or permit for the transfer, possession, or sale of a
firearm or firearms, or to carry a concealed firearm, or to import,
manufacture, deal in, or purchase explosives would be in violation of
Federal or State law or regulation; whether appeals should be granted
or denied; and whether to add to, delete from, revise, or update
information previously provided by the contributor. This includes
responding to inquiries by the ATF in connection with civil or criminal
enforcement of the Gun Control Act (18 U.S.C. Chapter 44); the National
Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. Chapter 53); or 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40
(Importation, Manufacture, Distribution and Storage of Explosive
Materials); responding to inquiries from the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) in connection with the clearance of its licensee and
certificate holder security personnel pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act
of 1954, as amended, section 161A (42 U.S.C. 2201a); and responding to
inquiries from criminal justice agencies regarding the disposition of
firearms in their possession.
    C. If, during the course of any activity or operation of the system
authorized by the regulations governing the system (28 CFR part 25
Subpart A), any record is found by the system which indicates, either
on its face or in conjunction with other information, a violation or
potential violation of law (whether criminal or civil) and/or
regulation, the pertinent record may be disclosed to the appropriate
agency/organization/task force (whether Federal, State, local, tribal,
or joint) and/or to the appropriate foreign or international agency/
organization charged with the responsibility of investigating,
prosecuting, and/or enforcing such law or regulation, e.g., disclosure
of information from the system to a law enforcement agency with an
active warrant for an individual denied a NICS transaction on the basis
of that warrant. (This routine use does not apply to the NICS Indices
because access to the information in the NICS Indices is limited to the
specific purposes set forth in 28 CFR 25.6(j).)
    D. System records may be disclosed to contractors, grantees,
experts, consultants, students, volunteers, detailees, and other non-
FBI employees performing or working on a contract, service, grant,
cooperative agreement, job, or other assignment for the Federal
Government when necessary to accomplish an agency function related to
this system of records and under requirements (including Privacy Act
requirements) specified by the FBI.
    E. System records may be disclosed to the news media or members of
the general public or to a victim or potential victim in furtherance of
a legitimate law enforcement or public safety function, e.g., to assist
in locating fugitives; to provide notification of arrests; to provide
alerts, assessments, or similar information on potential threats to
life, health, or property; or to keep the public appropriately informed
of other law enforcement or FBI matters of legitimate public interest
where disclosure could not reasonably be expected to constitute an
unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. (The availability of
information in pending criminal cases will be governed by the
provisions of 28 CFR 50.2.) (This routine use does not apply to the
NICS Indices because access to the information in the NICS Indices is
limited to the specific purposes set forth in 28 CFR 25.6(j).)
    F. Where the disclosure of system records has been determined by
the FBI to be reasonable and necessary to resolve a matter in
litigation or in anticipation thereof, such records may be disclosed to
a court or adjudicative body, before which the FBI is authorized to
appear, when: (a) The FBI or any FBI employee in his or her official
capacity; (b) any FBI employee in his or her individual capacity where
the Department of Justice has agreed to represent the employee; or (c)
the United States, where the FBI determines it is likely to be affected
by the litigation, is or could be a party to the litigation, or has an
official interest in the litigation. Similar disclosures may be made in
analogous situations related to assistance provided to the Federal
government by non-FBI employees (see Routine Use D). This routine use
would include disclosures in actual and/or anticipated litigation
involving POC states in matters relating to NICS operations.
    G. System records may be disclosed to a Member of Congress or staff
acting on the Member's behalf when the Member or staff requests the
information on
[[Page 54180]]
behalf of and at the written request of the individual who is the
subject of the record.
    H. System records may be disclosed to the National Archives and
Records Administration for records management inspections and such
other purposes conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and
2906.
    I. Information pertaining to individuals who are the subject of a
denied transaction by the NICS may be disclosed, either electronically
or otherwise, to a Federal, State, local, tribal, joint, foreign,
international, or other public agency/organization where such
disclosure may promote, assist, or otherwise serve law enforcement
interests. By way of example and not limitation, such disclosures may,
for instance, include posting all NICS denials on a centralized
database that would be electronically accessible to law enforcement
agencies.
    J. Information in the NICS Audit Log (including records of
approved, open, and denied transfers) may be disclosed to the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in connection with
ATF's inspection of FFL records. The information which may be disclosed
to the ATF regarding approved and open records is governed by the
provisions of 28 CFR part 25.
    K. Pursuant to subsection (b)(3) of the Privacy Act, the Department
of Justice may disclose relevant and necessary information to a former
employee of the Department for purposes of: Responding to an official
inquiry by a Federal, State, or local government entity or professional
licensing authority, in accordance with applicable Department
regulations; or facilitating communications with a former employee that
may be necessary for personnel-related or other official purposes where
the Department requires information and/or consultation assistance from
the former employee regarding a matter within that person's former area
of responsibility.
    L. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) the
Department suspects or has confirmed that there has been a breach of
the system of records; (2) the Department has determined that as a
result of the suspected or confirmed breach there is a risk of harm to
individuals, DOJ (including its information systems, programs, and
operations), the Federal Government, or national security; and (3) the
disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably
necessary to assist in connection with the Department's efforts to
respond to the suspected or confirmed breach or to prevent, minimize,
or remedy such harm.
    M. To another Federal agency or Federal entity, when the Department
determines that information from this system of records is reasonably
necessary to assist the recipient agency or entity in (1) responding to
a suspected or confirmed breach or (2) preventing, minimizing, or
remedying the risk of harm to individuals, the recipient agency or
entity (including its information systems, programs, and operations),
the Federal Government, or national security, resulting from a
suspected or confirmed breach.
    N. To an actual or potential party or his or her attorney for the
purpose of negotiating or discussing such matters as a settlement of
the case or matter, or informal discovery proceedings, in matters in
which the FBI has an official interest and in which the FBI determines
records in the system to be arguably relevant.
    O. To such recipients and under such circumstances and procedures
as are required or allowed by Federal regulation, statute, or treaty.
    P. To a Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, or foreign
governmental agency when necessary to elicit information from that
agency regarding an individual's eligibility to receive a firearm,
explosive, or related permit.
POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORAGE OF RECORDS:
    Computerized records are stored electronically on hard disk,
removable storage devices, in a government approved cloud computing
infrastructure (e.g., FedRAMP approved) offered by a cloud service
provider (e.g. Amazon Web Services), or other digital media. Some
information may be retained in hard copy format.
POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR RETRIEVAL OF RECORDS:
    Records are retrieved by name, sex, race, date of birth, state of
residence, other personal descriptive data, the NTN, FFL number, and in
some instances, unique numeric identifier, e.g., a Social Security
number or military identification number.
POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR RETENTION AND DISPOSAL OF RECORDS:
    Records in this system are maintained and disposed of in accordance
with job numbers N1-065-07-003 and N1-065-10-005 of the National
Archives and Records Administration.
ADMINISTRATIVE, TECHNICAL, AND PHYSICAL SAFEGUARDS:
    Records in the NICS are located in secure government buildings with
limited physical access or in a government approved cloud computing
infrastructure (e.g. FedRAMP approved) offered by a cloud service
provider (e.g. Amazon Web Services). Computerized data is password
protected. All FBI personnel and contractors are required to pass an
extensive background investigation. The information is accessed only by
authorized FBI personnel or by non-FBI personnel properly authorized
access to these records. Access to the results of a NICS record search
is further restricted to authorized employees of Federal, State, and
local law enforcement agencies. Paper records are temporarily stored in
hard copy until they are scanned into electronic format and stored in
the system. The paper records are retained and disposed of as
authorized by the National Archives and Records Administration.
    When a Federal, State, local, or tribal agency places information
in the NICS Indices, it uses its agency identifier and a unique agency
record identifier for each record provided to the NICS. Federal, State,
local, and tribal agencies can modify or cancel only the data that they
have provided to the NICS Indices.
RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES:
    The Attorney General has exempted this system of records from the
notification, access, amendment, and contest procedures of the Privacy
Act. These exemptions apply only to the extent that the information in
this system is subject to exemption pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) or
(k). Where compliance would not appear to interfere with or adversely
affect the purposes of the system, or the overall law enforcement/
intelligence process, the applicable exemption (in whole or in part)
may be waived by the FBI in its sole discretion.
    All requests for access should follow the guidance provided on the
FBI's website at https://www.fbi.gov/services/records-management/foipa.
A request for access to a record from this system of records must be
submitted in writing and comply with 28 CFR, Part 16. Individuals may
mail, fax, or electronically submit a request, clearly marked ``Privacy
Act Access Request,'' to the FBI, ATTN: FOI/PA Request, Record/
Information Dissemination Section, 170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA
22602-4843; facsimile: 540-868-4995/6/7; electronically: https://www.fbi.gov/services/records-management/foipa/requesting-fbi-records.
The request should include a general description of the records sought,
and must include the requester's full name, current address, and date
and place of birth. The request must be signed and dated and either
notarized or
[[Page 54181]]
submitted under penalty of perjury. While no specific form is required,
requesters may obtain a form (Form DOJ-361) for use in certification of
identity, which can be located at the above link. In the initial
request, the requester may also include any other identifying data that
the requester may wish to furnish to assist the FBI in making a
reasonable search. The request should include a return address for use
by the FBI in responding; requesters are also encouraged to include a
telephone number to facilitate FBI contacts related to processing the
request. A determination of whether a record may be accessed will be
made after a request is received.
    Alternative procedures are available to a person who has been
denied the transfer of, or permit for, a firearm because of information
in the NICS. The procedures provide for an appeal of a denial and a
method to seek correction of erroneous data searched by or maintained
in the system. The alternative procedures can be found at 28 CFR part
25 Subpart A.
CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:
    The Attorney General has exempted this system of records from the
notification, access, amendment, and contest procedures of the Privacy
Act. These exemptions apply only to the extent that the information in
this system is subject to exemption pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) or
(k). Where compliance would not appear to interfere with or adversely
affect the purposes of the system, or the overall law enforcement/
intelligence process, the applicable exemption (in whole or in part)
may be waived by the DOJ in its sole discretion.
    Individuals desiring to contest or amend information maintained in
the system should direct their requests according to the ``RECORD
ACCESS PROCEDURES'' paragraph above. All requests to contest or amend
records must be in writing and the envelope and letter should be
clearly marked ``Privacy Act Amendment Request.'' All requests must
state clearly and concisely what record is being contested, the reason
for contesting it, and the proposed amendment to the record. Some
information may be exempt from the amendment provisions as described in
the ``EXEMPTIONS PROMULGATED FOR THE SYSTEM'' paragraph, below. An
individual who is the subject of a record in this system of records may
contest or amend those records that are not exempt. A determination of
whether a record is exempt from the amendment provisions will be made
after a request is received.
    More information regarding the Department's procedures for amending
or contesting records in accordance with the Privacy Act can be found
at 28 CFR 16.46, ``Requests for Amendment or Correction of Records.''
    In addition, as described above under the ``RECORD ACCESS
PROCEDURES'' section, an alternative procedure is available to a person
who has been denied the transfer of, or permit for, a firearm because
of information in the NICS, by which the individual may seek the
correction of erroneous data in the system. The procedures are further
described at 28 CFR part 25 Subpart A.
NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES:
    This system of records has been exempted from the notification
procedures of subsections (d) and (e)(4)(G), to the extent permitted by
subsections (j)(2), (k)(2), and (k)(3) of the Privacy Act. Requests for
notification should be addressed to the Systems Manager. Requirements
for a request are the same as set forth in the ``RECORD ACCESS
PROCEDURES'' paragraph, above.
EXEMPTIONS PROMULGATED FOR THE SYSTEM:
    The Attorney General has exempted this system from subsections
(c)(3) and (4); (d); (e)(1), (2), and (3); (e)(4)(G) and (H); (e)(5)
and (8); and (g) of the Privacy Act, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).
In addition, the Attorney General has exempted this system from
subsections (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), and (e)(4)(G) and (H) of the Privacy
Act, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and (k)(3). Rules have been
promulgated in accordance with the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553(b),
(c), and (e) and have been published in the Federal Register. See 28
CFR 16.96(p) and (q).
HISTORY:
    National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), JUSTICE/
FBI-018, 63 FR 65223 (Nov. 25, 1998), as amended by 65 FR 78190 (Dec.
14, 2000), 66 FR 6676 (Jan. 22, 2001), 66 FR 8425 (Jan. 31, 2001), 66
FR 12959 (Mar. 1, 2001), and 82 FR 24147 (May 25, 2017).
[FR Doc. 2019-21583 Filed 10-8-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4410-02-P