NICS Appeals

NICS Appeals

Have you been denied for the purchase of a firearm, regardless of whether you never lost your rights to possess a firearm or alternatively were denied following the restoration of your right to possess a firearm? The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer can help you find out why you were denied and walk you through the process of how to overcome the denial so that you may again rightly exercise your Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms! We have done hundreds of firearm restorations; post-conviction relief, such as vacating convictions; and NICS appeals for clients across the entire state of Washington.


The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is the system used by the FBI to check whether you are allowed to purchase and possess a firearm.

NICS Appeal Request:
A NICS appeal is needed when you have been denied the purchase of a firearm and you wish to inquire as to the reason why you were denied so that you may clear up the issue and/or appeal the decision. In addition, you have the option of providing additional documentation, if needed, such as a court order restoring your firearm rights. This appeal is for the transaction at issue only and the FBI disposes of all information after it has processed your appeal.

NICS Voluntary Appeal File:
A voluntary Appeal File (VAF) allows you to be proactive in the face of a possible denial of your purchase of a firearm. As opposed to the NICS Appeal request above, in this case you are providing all of the pertinent information related to your lawful right to possess firearms and requesting that the FBI maintain them as a record. By maintaining such files, NICS will only need to check the time between the date your VAS was processed and the current date for new issues. This allows you to provide documentation that clarifies records, such as a vacated conviction or an order restoring your firearm rights.

We will need the following items and information:

  • A WSP criminal background check – We can obtain one for a small fee.
  • Whether you were convicted of a crime in another state and, if so, in which county it occurred;
  • Whether you previously had your firearm rights restored, and what year the restoration took place;
  • Whether you have any outstanding warrants;
  • Whether you have a No Contact Order against you or other similar court order;
  • Whether you have been denied in the past;
  • Whether you had your firearm rights revoked in the past for any reason;
  • The NICS Transaction Number (NTN) or State Transaction Number (STN).
Unfortunately, the process does not have a specific time frame for completion. The circumstances of your individual case will determine how much work needs to be done on your case and how fast the government can process your appeal request or VAF.

Moving forward, we will first appeal your NICS denial. Second, if you wish, we can also create and file a VAF on your behalf as well. Your appeal file will have all of your documentation regarding your conviction record (of lack thereof), court orders for any vacated convictions or firearm right restorations, and any other additional documentation that may be needed to address the reasons for your initial denial and to also help prevent any subsequent denials in the future.

When your VAF is created, the FBI will check your documentation and provide clearance for your purchase of firearms in the future. By referencing the VAF number (called a UPIN) on the application when you purchase your next firearm, the FBI will automatically send back to the FFL holder authorization for you to purchase the firearm, provided there are not any new disqualifying circumstances since the VAF was created.

Most people have a VAF completed following their initial denial for a purchase of a firearm. However, you may also want one completed prior to the purchase of a firearm just to be prepared.